The Darfur peace talks between rebels and the Sudanese government appear to have stalled and may not restart this year. The talks began at the end of October in Sirte, Libya, with most of the key rebel leaders boycotting the negotiations.

Mediators had hoped some progress could be made by the end of this year.  However, Salim Ahmed Salim, the AU Special Envoy, says negotiations cannot not restart without most of the rebels on board.

Sam Ibok is the African Union Ambassador and Advisor to Salim Ahmed Salim, based in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.  Nightline?s Akwei Thompson spoke with him by phone.                   

Ibok said that two groups, made up of the major rebels, are meeting separately in Juba, southern Sudan, and in north Darfur. He said both groups have indicated ?they are not ready for the talks, so what we?re trying to do is to have some more serious engagements with them?as part of the preparations of the second phase of the talks.?

No specific date has been set for the second phase, but the rebel groups have asked for a period of three to four weeks.  However, says Ibok, ?We don?t want to be constrained with time line.   We want to give the movements the time that they require to do a good job, so that by the time they come back, they will be ready for the negotiations.?