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African Union: Sudan Begins Troop Withdrawal from Darfur

The African Union says Sudan's government is starting to withdraw troops from Darfur, heeding an A.U. demand to end fighting by Saturday.

An A.U. spokesman says he hopes the pullback will allow Sudan's government and rebels to resume stalled peace talks in Nigeria. Rebels have refused to participate in the talks until the government stops attacks in Darfur.

Friday, the African Union gave both the Sudanese government and rebels a 24-hour ultimatum to respect a cease-fire. It said after the deadline passes, it will report any violations to the U.N. Security Council.

The ultimatum followed a report by the commander of the A.U.'s observer force in Darfur which said Sudan's government appears to be preparing a major military offensive in the region. The report also detailed violations by rebel forces.

Some information for this report provided by AP, Reuters.