Darfur talks delayed until September

Talks aimed at ending the conflict in Sudan's western region of Darfur have been postponed until September.

    Talks to end the Darfur conflict is rescheduled for 15 September

    Negotiations between two rebel groups and the Sudanese government were scheduled to resume on Wednesday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, but that had been in doubt for weeks.

    The talks are now scheduled to start on 15 September in Abuja, African Union envoy Salim Ahmed Salim said in a statement on Wednesday.

    "The decision to resume the talks in Abuja was taken following three days of consultations between the parties," Salim said in the statement issued in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

    Salim, appointed the AU envoy to the Darfur talks in May, said the consultations took place in the Tanzanian coastal town of Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam, but did not say when.

    In Abuja, the parties will discuss how to share power and wealth in the Darfur region as well as security, Salim said.

    Visit

    The head of the United Nations' refugee agency arrived in the Darfur city of Geneina on Wednesday on the first leg of a 10-day tour of sprawling camps that house some of the millions of Sudanese displaced by fighting in both this volatile region and the civil war-ravaged south.

    Geneina's camps house many
    displaced by the Darfur conflict

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees chief Ant?nio Guterres's aircraft touched down in Geneina, capital of West Darfur state, where he will meet residents of an internally displaced camp on the outskirts of the city and to assess his organisation's work there.

    "This is the biggest displacement problem in Africa," Guterres said of Sudan.

    Two years of violence in Darfur, western Sudan, has caused another wave of refugees.

    As of 1 July, 3.2 million people in Darfur need humanitarian assistance and 1.9 million live in crowded camps in Sudan, according to a UN report released last week.

    At least 200,000 Sudanese live in refugee camps in neighbouring Chad.

    The Darfur conflict began in February 2003 when rebels took up arms, complaining of discrimination and oppression by the Sudanese government.

    At least 180,000 people have died, many from hunger and disease.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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