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African Leaders Insist Darfur Problem Should be Solved by Africans

The leaders of Sudan, Chad, Egypt, and Nigeria have met in Tripoli, Libya to see what can be done to end the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. The five leaders insist the conflict in western Sudan, which erupted last year, is an African issue to be resolved by Africans.

The summit leaders issued a statement rejecting the U.N. threat of sanctions if Sudan's leaders do not take steps to improve conditions in Darfur. The leaders insist the conflict is an African issue and reject what they call foreign interference in the efforts to end it.

But the summit leaders from Chad, Egypt, Nigeria, and Libya have urged Sudan's government to fulfill its promise to end the violence and increase humanitarian aid in Darfur. Sudan's foreign minister says his government has agreed to let African Union monitors travel to Darfur and to increase access for relief workers.

But humanitarian organizations say the continued fighting in western Sudan is making their work more difficult. More than 1.5 million Sudanese have been displaced by the conflict.

After the hastily-called summit, Libyan officials met with representatives of one of two rebel groups fighting in Darfur.

The Darfur rebels are due to meet with Sudanese officials later in the week in Nigeria. The peace talks collapsed last month with both sides blaming each other for the stalemate.

Darfur rebels accuse the government of supporting an Arab militia, known as the Janjaweed, that is systematically attacking non-Arab villages in the western area of Darfur. U.N. officials estimate more than 70,000 people have been killed in the fighting, which some describe as genocide.

The talks are sponsored by the African Union, which is also sending a peacekeeping force to Darfur to supplement a few hundred soldiers protecting African Union monitors there.

The Tripoli summit statement says the peacekeeping mission would be a test of the 53-nation African Union's ability to deal with regional conflicts.