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UN Secretary-General in Libya to Discuss Darfur Conference


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has pledged his support for the Darfur peace conference to be held in Libya next month.

Mr. Ban arrived Saturday in Libya and met the Libyan leader near his hometown of Sirte. Following the meeting, the secretary-general told reporters that Mr. Gadhafi had promised to do all he could to ensure that representatives from all the factions involved in the Darfur crisis attend the conference.

The U.N. leader announced earlier this week that Libya would host the peace conference aimed at ending the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The conference is scheduled for October 27.

Mr. Ban's visit to Libya follows a stop in neighboring Chad. During that visit, Chadian President Idriss Deby offered to host a preliminary meeting of Darfur rebel groups ahead of the talks in Libya next month.

Divisions among the rebel groups have been a major factor holding back peace efforts in Darfur.

Mr. Deby said in the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, Friday that Chad has experience dealing with the rebels and knows them personally.

Libya has recently hosted several meetings on the Darfur crisis to try to push the peace process forward.

The violence in Darfur has killed an estimated 200,000 people and driven tens of thousands of Sudanese refugees into eastern Chad and the Central African Republic.

Chad and Sudan share a 900-kilometer border, and armed groups frequently cross over to attack villages and civilians.

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

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