International mediators had hoped as many rebels as possible would attend the talks to negotiate a ceasefire.

Since a peace deal signed by only one of three rebel factions last year, the fighters have split into more than a dozen groups.

The run-up to the talks has also been overshadowed by a rebel attack against an oilfield in a region disputed by Khartoum and Sudan's former southern rebels.

The Justice and Equality movement claimed to have kidnapped two foreign oil workers.

Criticism
 
Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from the town of Al Fasher, in north Darfur, says that the talks have been criticised, with some groups claiming that many Darfur tribes have been excluded.

Othman Kibir, the governor of north Darfur, said: "Darfur doesn't belong to a handful of groups only. The African Union, United Nations and the international community should talk to all parties, and listen to all parties."

"To the representatives of the United Nations and the African Union, I urge you to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Juba, the Darfur rebel factions failed to unify their positions and most of them decided to boycott the talks.

Increasing tension 

Fighting has continued on the ground despite repeated assertions from all parties that a fragile ceasefire is still holding.

Bakhit, right, says an agreement in Libya
would be a "sedative" to the Darfur issue [AFP]
Vall also said that the political mood in the Sudanese capital Khartoum is not optimistic.

"The stand off over the implementation of a 2005 peace agreement is continuing between the ruling party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, its southern partner in the unity government," he said.

Sudan's stability remains uncertain amid what many see as the possibility of another nationwide conflict.

"The real crisis is a Sudan crisis - it's not just about Darfur. If an agreement is reached in Libya, it will be like a sedative to the issue of Darfur," Adam Bakhit, a Darfur rebel commander, said.

"After that, due to other tensions, another war could break out between the North and the South. There needs to be a comprehensive solution for Sudan."