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US Seeks Changes to Darfur Peace Deal


U.S. diplomats at the Darfur peace talks are lobbying the Sudanese government to accept changes to a draft peace agreement.

Mediators say the proposed changes would grant Darfur rebel factions more concessions than the original agreement, which the government had accepted, but rebel leaders rejected.

The changes are expected to address rebel demands for greater power-sharing and wealth-sharing. Rebel leaders have not said if the proposed changes would satisfy their demands.

Mediators say deep mistrust on both sides is undermining the process. But a rebel negotiator, SLM member Niemat Ahmadai, told VOA that it is important for an agreement to be reached for the sake of the people living in Darfur.

The deadline for an agreement expires Thursday at midnight. Mediators have pushed back the deadline twice.

A conflict over land and water resources in Darfur erupted into fighting in 2003 when non-Arab rebels accused the Arab-dominated government of neglect. Fighting between the rebels, government forces and Khartoum-backed, Janjaweed, militias has displaced more than two million people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.