Sudan‘s government on Friday said three-week-old peace talks with Darfur rebels in the Nigerian capital Abuja were over, accusing the US of increasing the rebels’ resolve to avoid a compromise.
Rebels are due to meet Nigerian president and African Union chairman Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday evening to give their version of events before making an official comment on the talks.
The sudden turn of events comes a day after both parties had suggested that peace talks be revived and allowed to run their course.
“We do not think the negotiations have failed and we are ready to continue the negotiations,” said spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), Abd Al-Jabbar on Thursday.
Speaking to Aljazeera Majdhub al-Khalifa, chief negotiator for the Sudanese Government, also called for a continuation of talks, but blamed US officials for undermining the process.
“There have been some differences over some issues but we do not think that we cannot cope with them. We have made very good progress in the humanitarian file. But the real difficulties came after the US and Security Council draft resolutions which would complicate the issue,” he said.
UN draft resolution
The draft resolution is the second in the Security Council this summer aimed at stopping the violence, which the UN says has left an estimated 50,000 Africans dead and has forced 1.2 million people to flee their homes.
After permanent member China threatened to veto the original draft, the US made several concessions, promising not to declare a deadline for Sudanese compliance with the resolution.
But the main points of the text remain: A call for the African Union to field a large monitoring force in Darfur and a threat to consider sanctions if Sudan does not cooperate with the monitors and stop the violence in the troubled region.
The resolution also asks Annan to create an international commission to determine human rights violations and whether genocide has occurred in Darfur as US Secretary of State Colin Powell charged last week.