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Chadian President Offers to Support Darfur Peace Talks


Chadian President Idriss Deby is offering to assist peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

Mr. Deby told visiting U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that Chad could host a preliminary meeting of Darfur rebel groups ahead of a planned Darfur peace conference in Libya in October.

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

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

Mr. Ban expressed gratitude for the Chadian offer.

The secretary-general travels Saturday to Libya where he is expected to discuss the upcoming Darfur peace conference and meet with Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. Mr. Ban announced earlier this week that Libya had been chosen over five other countries to host the Darfur negotiations.

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

The violence in Darfur has 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.

The fighting in Darfur has killed an estimated 200,000 people and displaced more than two million residents.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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