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Darfur at Turning Point
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An international meeting on Darfur that ended Monday in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, indicated that the conflict there has come to a turning point.

The Sudanese government has accepted the deployment of a hybrid force of United Nations and African Union (AU) troops and is calling for the rebels to negotiation.

If all stakeholders take this chance to make a collective effort, there could be progress.

If they do not, the peace process could remain at a standstill or even reverse.

Plan but no specific targets

The wording of the meeting's final communique was cautious. It contained plans for the near future, but failed to specify any targets.

The document also stopped short of the previously anticipated timetable for the resumption of peace talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups.

Analysts said it is the rebels that are blamed for the stalled peace talks.

If a unanimous stance cannot be achieved among the anti-government troops bristling with factions, there will be no concrete progress even if talks are held.

None of the rebel groups came to Tripoli for the two-day meeting, which was attended by the United Nation, the African Union, the European Union, Sudan and 14 other countries, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

The communique suggested that the parties are still at odds over working out a roadmap for peace in Darfur.

The current situation in Darfur was "dynamic fragile and evolving rapidly," it said without making clear whether the situation is turning better or worse.

Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman with the UN Mission in Sudan, said on Wednesday that the international assistance agencies are at a loss about whom they should approach in the regions controlled by the anti-government camp, which keeps producing new factions.

Peace talks regarded as the sole solution

Everyone at Tripoli agreed that a political agreement should be reached as soon as possible, indicating that peace talks are still the only approach acceptable to the international community.

The meeting reaffirmed the leading role of the AU and the United Nations in the peace process, and encouraged countries in the region, such as Chad and Libya, to continue their constructive efforts.

The meeting appealed to all member states of the AU and the United Nations and other stakeholders to refrain from supporting parallel initiatives outside the AU-UN process.

(Xinhua News Agency July 17, 2007)

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