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Africa
Meetings follow Doha deal on Darfur
Sudan's president holds talks with Qatari ruler before heading to Cairo to meet Mubarak.
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2009 12:19 GMT
Both the Sudanese government and Jem have freed prisoners as part of peace negotiations [EPA]

Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has arrived in Egypt for talks on ending the six-year conflict in the western Darfur province.

The visit follows an agreement between his government and the strongest Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), signed in the Qatari capital Doha last week.

Al-Bashir is expected to meet Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, on Sunday.

In a related development, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the ruler of Qatar, arrived in Khartoum on Saturday for talks with al-Bashir.

The Qatar talks led to Sudan announcing the release on Saturday of 24 detainees involved in the Darfur conflict after a similar goodwill gesture by Jem, who released 21 government soldiers in advance of the peace negotiations.

The developments come as the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague debates whether to issue a warrant for al-Bashir's arrest in connection to alleged war crimes carried out in Darfur.

The ICC's chief prosecutor asked last July for a warrant to be issued against al-Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

According to the UN, around 300,000 people have died and more than 2.2 million fled their homes since ethnic minority rebels in Darfur rose up against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government in 2003.

However, the Sudanese government disputes the UN's figures, putting the death toll at 10,000.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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