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Sudan Peace Talks Fail - 2004-09-16


Peace talks on Sudan being held in Abuja, Nigeria have been suspended. The parties failed to reach agreement on issues of security and disarmament in the western Darfur region. But the parties say they will return to talks in a few weeks.

The talks were convened to help resolve the situation in Darfur, where fighting between rebel groups and Arab militias has claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced over a million people to flee their homes. But little progress has been made in the talks and a draft resolution for humanitarian assistance has not been signed.

A spokesman with the rebel faction, Justice and Equality Movement, Ahmed Hussain Adam, says all of the parties are in talks with the African Union to set a new date and location for renewed talks on resolving the crisis.

"We told the African Union that we are ready at any time to come and continue the negotiations regarding the issues, the security issues and the humanitarian issues, and then the root causes and the political issues, as well," said Ahmed Hussain Adam. "But we need, actually, the African Union and the international community to put the pressure on the government, because the government didn't take any strategic decision to come to a political solution to this problem. We have to reach an agreement to alleviate the plight of all our people, and also to address the root problems of this conflict."

The rebels are calling on the international community to put pressure on the Sudanese government to disarm the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militia, before the rebels agree to put down their own weapons. Mr. Adam called for a commission to examine the situation in Darfur.

"As [U.S. Secretary of State] Colin Powell said and as most of the international human rights organizations are stating, the genocide now is still occurring in Darfur," he said. "How [can] we prevent this? How [can] we protect civilians? How we can give them confidence that this genocide cannot continue? We need an impartial commission to investigate the crimes. The government refused also this demand, clearly."

The Khartoum government does not want international forces to interfere in the business of Sudan, and says it will disarm all factions at the same time.

The talks in Abuja are a second attempt by the African Union to bring the government and the rebels together. The first round of talks, in Ethiopia, collapsed in July.

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