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Sudan Peace Talks Set to Resume in Nigeria - 2004-08-30

The Sudan peace talks being held in Nigeria are expected to enter their second week after several delays, including a rebel boycott to mourn the loss of civilians they claim were killed recently by government forces.

Representatives from the Sudanese government and the two main rebel factions are tackling issues that have been the most divisive, including conditions for disarmament and providing humanitarian assistance to internally displaced people.

The chairman of one rebel faction, the Sudanese Liberation Movement and Army, Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur, is warning that the Sudanese government must stop the violence in Darfur if there is to be any progress in the peace talks.

"We're not going to attend these peace talks anymore if the Khartoum government is still violating the cease-fire and it still never, ever respects even human rights on the ground," he said. "The government, which should respect, therefore, anybody that they have to save, the civilians. Now, they attack the civilians without any respect for human rights on the ground."

The rebel factions have accused the pro-government Janjaweed militia and government forces of violating a cease-fire agreement by killing dozens of civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan last week.

The African Union, which is chairing the talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, is investigating the claims and says its monitors in Sudan will report back during the week.

A new contingent of more than 100 soldiers left Nigeria Monday to join the protection force for AU cease-fire monitors in the Darfur region.

The United Nations Security Council is currently reviewing the crisis in Sudan to determine what measures will be taken. The Security Council has threatened the Sudanese government with international sanctions if it did not end the violence by the end of August.