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Darfur Rebels Study AU Security Proposal

A rebel group operating in the war-torn Darfur region of western Sudan says it is studying a proposal for a security arrangement to end long-running fighting there.

A defense and security commander of a rebel group in Darfur, Omar Adam, told VOA his group is mulling over a security agreement proposed at peace talks with the Sudanese government in Nigeria.

Mr. Adam said the rebels are calling for the disarmament of a pro-government militia known as the Janjaweed, which he says is one of the key proposals in the agreement.

"The main point of the proposal [is] the disarmament of pro-government, Arab militia Janjaweed," he said. "This is the main point."

Mr. Adam would not elaborate on details of the proposed agreement or whether the rebels will sign onto the deal.

Late Monday, mediators at the Darfur peace talks under way in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, urged two rebel groups operating in Darfur and the Sudanese government to sign a security agreement to end the violence, which began almost two years ago, displacing more than 1.5 million people.

The draft security agreement was put together by the African Union, which has peacekeeping troops and observers stationed in the troubled region. Media reports indicate the parties appear to favor the latest draft over earlier versions.

The security agreement reportedly calls for the government to disarm the janjaweed and other militias it might be supporting, end what are termed hostile military flights over Darfur and guarantee the safe return of refugees.

The United Nations calls the Darfur conflict the world's worst humanitarian crisis.