Sudan rejects US peace initiative

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir has thrown cold water on US efforts to promote peace in his war-torn country, two days after US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Zoellick left Sudan.

    President Omar al-Beshir called the Darfur crisis an internal issue

    "We don't need Zoellick to resolve our internal problems," the official SUNA news agency quoted al-Beshir as saying on Sunday.
      
    The US official spent four days in Sudan trying to support a January peace deal that ended more than two decades of north-south war and pressing for a solution to the conflict in the western region of Darfur.
      
    Al-Beshir made the comment after receiving proposals from members of his ruling National Congress for a regional conference bringing around the same table all the parties involved in Darfur.
      
    "The solution to the root causes of the problem lies with the people of Darfur themselves," al-Beshir said.
      
    Up to 300,000 people have died since ethnic minority rebels rose up against the government in Khartoum in early 2003, according to a British parliamentary report.
      
    Two million more people have been left homeless after the government unleashed militias against minority villages.
      
    Washington played an important part in the negotiations that led to the signing of the north-south peace deal, which Zoellick said could be used as a model to resolve the conflict in Darfur.
      
    It was Zoellick's fourth visit to Sudan this year.

    SOURCE: AFP


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