US official to visit Sudan

A top US diplomat will visit Sudan next week to press the government to end the violence in Darfur.

    The visit is aimed at ending the conflict in Darfur

    US officials on Thursday said Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick will visit Khartoum and Darfur after attending a donors conference in Oslo aimed at helping Sudan rebuild after a January peace deal ended Sudan's separate north-south conflict.

    "It's to push the government to carry out the north-south accords and to stop the violence in Darfur," the official, who spoke on condition he not be named, said of the reasons behind Zoellick's visit to Khartoum.
       
    "By going to Darfur itself, he gets a chance to look at the situation on the ground, talk to the humanitarian aid community and highlight the need for a resolution of the problems," he added.

    Conflict
     
    Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting in Darfur and more than 2 million have fled their homes to makeshift camps in the remote, western desert region.
       
    The crisis was triggered in February 2003 when pastoral rebel groups took up arms against the government in a struggle over power and scarce resources.

    Khartoum retaliated by arming local tribes and launching a sustained counter-offensive.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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