Leaders of Darfur’s rebel movement have gathered in Arusha, Tanzania for talks aimed at finding common ground and a solution to the conflict in the Darfur region. At least 200,000 people are believed to have died and millions left homeless in the 4 year old conflict.
The talks are being mediated by the African Union and the United Nations. Ambassador Sam Ibok is senior advisor to dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, special envoy of the African Union for Darfur. From the conference center in Arusha he spoke with Nightline’s Akwei Thompson.
“I think it’s going well. I think so far we’ve been able to bring together all of those who were invited to the talks except Abdul Wahid al-Nur….”
Ibok said although the factions may have different perspectives, different positions and ways to articulate them, they are not divided on fundamental issues and on what needs to be done in the new political negotiations.
Ambassador Ibok said that this is the first opportunity for these movements to meet together since the rejection of the Darfur Peace Agreement. So the fact they are even meeting face to face is a significant development. “What we’re hoping to do is to have them articulate their different positions…”.
About the absence of Abdul Wahid al Nur, he said his absence would undoubtedly have an impact on the talks. ”He’s part of the leadership of the movement from Darfur and definitely has a role to play in the final solution to the conflict. Ibok said the door was still open. “…but we do not want to hold the peace process in Darfur hostage to only one personality…”