Accessibility links

Sudan Peace Talks Stuck on Issues of Security - 2004-09-07

Reports from the Nigerian capital Abuja, where Sudan peace talks have entered a third week, say the rebel factions and the Sudanese government are deadlocked on the issue of security. But the spokesman for the Sudanese delegation says progress will be made.

The Sudanese government and representatives from the two main rebel factions have been reviewing a second draft proposal on the issue of security after the first draft was rejected Monday.

Both sides are holding firm on their positions regarding disarmament. The rebels say they will only hand over their weapons after the pro-government Janjaweed Arab militia has been disarmed and questioned on human-rights violations.

Sudanese government spokesman says both groups met separately with the African Union secretariat hosting the talks and an agreement will be reached.

"Yes, there are certain problems but I cannot say there is a deadlock," says Mr. Ibrahim. "Most people are trying to find common grounds for the two sides and the leaders of the African Union and the facilitators and observers are in continuous meetings from last night up until this morning they are in a meeting. So I cannot say there is a deadlock, but I think there are still some points to be negotiated."

The talks were called to end the humanitarian crisis in the western Darfur region of Sudan, which the United Nations has called the worst in the world. The conflict developed over water and resource issues between the Arab herdsmen and the African farmers. The United Nations estimates that more than one-million people have fled the violence and tens of thousands of civilians have died.

Mr. Ibrahim says they have received word from the Darfur region and the situation there is improving. "Up to this morning we received information from Darfur itself and I think that they are improving and people are looking hopefully to Abuja to see further chances for better development for the situation on the ground," he says.

The Abuja talks were supposed to address four key issues regarding humanitarian assistance, security, political representation and economic implications of the crisis. A draft agreement on the humanitarian assistance has been verbally agreed upon, but has yet to be signed.

The United Nations has threatened to impose international sanctions against the Sudanese government. The end-of-August deadline showed little improvement in the situation in Darfur, according to the U.N. Security Council. But the council has said the time has not yet come to impose sanctions.