Troubled start to Darfur talks

Sudanese peace talks have got off to a troubled start after Khartoum rejected a plan for African troops to disarm rebels in the war-torn Darfur region.

    Sudan's Al-Khalifa rejected the Nigerian disarmament plan

    Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, African Union (AU) chairman and host of the talks in Abuja, suggested AU troops were needed because Sudan's forces were incapable of disarming the rebels without further bloodshed. 
        
    AU troops could do this, he said, while Khartoum could disarm the Janjawid militias – nomadic tribesmen widely accused of driving hundreds of thousands of people off their land.
       
    "I don't think there is a need for this," said Majdhub al-Khalifa, Sudan's agriculture minister and top negotiator at the talks.

    "Simultaneously we will disarm the rebel movements, the Janjawid and other militia."

    That plan was swiftly dismissed by a top rebel official.
       
    "There is no way we can let our enemies disarm us. They are still killing us and bombing us," said Abu Bakr Hamid Nur, coordinator of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement.
       
    Talks continue

    Darfur rebels reject the idea of
    being disarmed by Khartoum

    Delegates said Monday's formal talks between the government and rebels began with each side presenting its case, after which they set an agenda comprising political, security, humanitarian and development issues to be addressed.
       
    They are to reconvene at 1100 GMT on Tuesday.
       
    Darfur rebels began an armed revolt against the government in February 2003 after years of conflict between nomadic and sedentary tribes over scarce resources in the arid region.
       
    They are demanding a greater role for ethnic minorities of the Darfur region in government, which they say is dominated by the country's northern provinces.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    Daughters of al-Shabab

    What draws Kenyan women to join al-Shabab and what challenges are they facing when they return to their communities?