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EU Hails Sudanese Rebel Agreement


The European Union has hailed the agreement reached by rebel groups of Sudan's Darfur region to enter into peace talks with the government.

EU diplomacy chief Javier Solana said Tuesday in Brussels that the prospect of peace in Darfur has moved a significant step closer after the rebel factions agreed on a common position in the talks.

The Darfur rebels meeting in Tanzania reached a consensus on Monday on power and wealth sharing, security, and providing access to humanitarian groups.

The United Nations and African Union sponsored the four-day talks in an effort to end a four-year conflict in Darfur that has killed at least 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million.

The Sudanese government says it is open to talks with the rebels but does not want significant changes to a peace agreement signed with some rebels in Abuja, Nigeria in 2006.

Rebel groups say they want to discuss their platform with the government within two or three months.

Observers say the absence of the Sudan Liberation Movement - a key rebel group - could hinder the success of the talks. However, rebel groups say they would remain open to future participation of groups that did not take part in the meetings in Tanzania.

Last week, the U.N. Security Council authorized a 26,000 strong U.N.-AU peacekeeping mission for Darfur. Currently, there are 7,000 African Union peacekeepers in the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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