"I hope that the Libya summit will represent an important step on the way to achieving a solution to the situation in Darfur," said Hossam Zaki, spokesman for Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

He added that he hoped a Darfur settlement would "reflect positively on Sudan's unity, security and sovereignty". Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi announced on Wednesday that Tripoli would be host to the mini-summit on Darfur.

Libya's lead

Bringing together the leaders of Chad, Egypt, Nigeria, Gabon and Sudan as well as Libya and the African Union, but not the rebels, the gathering had initially been planned for Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Kadhafi has invited Darfur's two main ethnic minority rebel groups - the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement - to participate in the talks.

"I hope that the Libya summit will represent an important step on the way to achieving a solution to the situation in Darfur"

Hossam Zaki,
Arab League spokesman

The rebels have accused the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum of pursuing a "war of extermination" against Darfur's indigenous minorities since they launched their uprising two years ago.

As many as 300,000 people have died in the conflict and more than two million more fled their homes, according to a British parliamentary committee report.

Zaki said Moussa will leave Cairo for Tripoli on Sunday to attend the summit.