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Sudan Delegation Heads to Chad to Discuss Cease-Fire Violations - 2004-10-04

The African Union is hosting a meeting in Chad to discuss violations of the six-month-old cease-fire agreement for the troubled Darfur region of Sudan. Members of the Sudanese government traveled to Chad to participate in talks called by the AU mission observing a tenuous ceasefire for the western Darfur region of Sudan.

The talks will examine reports of violations of the cease-fire by the Sudanese military, the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militia, and the two main rebel groups.

Observers from the European Union and the United States are also attending talks in Ndjamena, the capital of Chad. Secretary of State Colin Powell has referred to the fighting in Sudan as genocide, and the allegation prompted the European Union to press the United Nations to conduct a special inquiry.

Fighting between black Africans and mainly Arab militias in Darfur has led to the deaths of tens of thousands and more than one-million civilians have fled their homes, creating the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

The African Union attempted to host talks between all the Sudanese factions in the Nigerian capital Abuja after talks in Ethiopia fell apart in July. But after three weeks of negotiations in Abuja, the talks broke down last month.

All participants agreed to resume the talks after a break. A spokesman from the Sudan Liberation Army told VOA his group was not invited to participate in the talks in Chad, but had received an invitation to return to Nigeria later this month.

A spokesman from the Justice and Equality Movement, Ahmed Hussain Adam, says it has also been invited to return to talks in Abuja and representatives will return to Nigeria on October 21.