Sudan rejects Darfur rebel terms

Sudan’s government has rejected Darfur rebel demands that would have allowed a resumption of negotiations.

    More than 3000 have died in Darfur since September's ceasefire

    Press reports published in Khartum on Thursday confirmed the conditions presented by rebels from Sudan’s western state - such as international monitoring of the negotiations - had been rejected.

    "The sending of international monitors to Darfur is ruled out because this will be an internationalisation of the problem," Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail was quoted by the official al-Anbaa daily as saying.

    No international talks

    The two sides had been conducting proximity talks with Chadian mediators in Abeche up until last Saturday, but have not yet sat at the same negotiating table together.
      
    Ismail said his government had consistently attempted to solve the Darfur problem "in a bilateral framework" with the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

    Khartum had accepted the Chadian mediation "in view of the mutual security concerns and the tribal inter-relationship between the two countries." 
      
    Conditions

    "The sending of international monitors to Darfur is ruled out because this will be an internationalisation of the problem"

    Mustafa Ismail
    Sudanese foreign minister

    The SLA delegation has insisted the government should accept three demands in addition to the international monitors.

    Rebels have called for disarming pro-government militias, protection of civilians and safe passage of relief supplies to SLA-controlled areas.
      
    SLA official Usman Bushra says thousands of civilians have been killed by the Janjaweed militia, adding: "Our losses after the ceasefire were much more than during the fighting."
      
    However, Bushra stressed his movement would continue to abide by the September Abeche agreement which included a ceasefire between the two sides.
      
    Terrible toll

    The Darfur rebellion was launched in February to protest against economic neglect of the semi-desert region by the Khartum government.

    The struggle has left about 3000 dead so far this year, according to UN estimates.
      
    Another 400,000 have been displaced by the conflict.

    SOURCE: AFP


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