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Darfur rebels in search of common ground

Rebel factions from Darfur are holding a third day of talks, in Arusha, Tanzania, aimed at unifying their stance for possible peace negotiations with the Sudanese government.

The United Nations and African Union are sponsoring the conference whose goal is for the groups to reach a common platform for the peace talks expected within two months.

The meeting was originally scheduled to end today (8-5-07) but participants say it may extend through Monday. Ambassador Samuel Ibok is advisor to the AU Darfur envoy. From the conference center in Arusha he spoke with nightline’s Akwei Thompson.

“There have been some intensive consultations between all the movements…We are made to understand that they have reached a consensus on some of the issues …”

Ibok said that the main objective of reaching a common ground had been achieved: “Oh, absolutely, the group has worked very hard…they have been meeting in different groups on different things…and I think they are finding common ground…”

Ibok thinks there were will be some other consultations. He said on Monday the groups will be able come out with clear positions on the issues.

The next step, he said, “will be the consultations with the government of the Sudan and other stakeholders including the signatories of the Darfur Peace agreement”.