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Darfur Rebels Quit Peace Talks With Sudan Government

The leader of Darfur's main rebel group says it has pulled out of peace talks with the Sudanese government until President Omar al-Bashir reconsiders his decision to expel international aid groups from the nation.

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Chairman Khalil Ibrahim told reporters Friday the Sudanese government also should release more JEM prisoners, as it agreed to do as part of an accord signed in Qatar last month.

The deal laid the groundwork for future talks between the two sides. Conditions included a prisoner swap, with each side releasing prisoners last month.

Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Mr. Bashir's arrest on war crimes charges. Soon after the court's action, Sudan said it would expel 13 foreign aid groups active in Darfur.

Mr. Bashir has accused the aid groups of spying and stealing international aid money -- a charge the groups deny.

Prosecutors accuse President Bashir of masterminding a campaign of rape, murder and other crimes against civilians in Darfur, where his government has been fighting rebels since 2003.

The United Nations says the fighting and related violence in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people, and displaced more than 2.5 million others. Sudan says the death toll is around 10,000.

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