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Darfur Rebels Halt Peace Work, Threatening Landmark Peace Deal

A Sudanese rebel faction that signed a landmark peace deal with the government earlier this year has suspended peace work. It says the government has not fulfilled its commitments.

A Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) official Saturday accused the government of being insincere when it promised to appoint a rebel nominee to the post of assistant to President Omar al-Beshir. The rebels selected their leader, Minni Minnawi, for the position.

Minnawi was to travel to Khartoum Saturday, but the rebel group says he is postponing the visit because he was not named senior assistant to the president.

The SLA has been the main rebel faction in the Darfur region. It signed a hard-won peace deal with Khartoum in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, in May. The agreement is aimed at ending three years of fighting.

In a related development, an SLA spokesman called for the immediate deployment of international peacekeepers to the Darfur region.

Conflict about land and water resources in Darfur erupted into fighting in 2003 when non-Arab rebels accused the Arab-dominated government of neglect. The fighting has involved rebels, government forces and the Khartoum-backed Janjaweed militias.

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