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Sudanese Government Ready for Peace Talks

The Sudanese government is ready to participate in the Abuja peace talks scheduled for Aug. 23, a Sudanese diplomat in Nigeria said in Abjua Thursday.

Charge d'Affairs Mohammed Omer Musa from the Sudanese embassy in Nigeria said in a statement that "Sudan is excited at the prospects of the talks."

The talks between the Sudanese government and the two rebel groups in Darfur -- the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and the Justice and Equality Movement -- are to be held under the auspices of the African Union (AU), of which Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is chairman.

The Sudanese diplomat said opportunity for the talks was conveyed via a letter to its Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail.

Musa hoped for a successful and speedy conclusion of the talks in order to ensure the restoration of security and stability in Darfur.

On July 30, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution giving Sudan 30 days to disarm the Arab Janjaweed militia -- blamed for atrocities in Darfur -- or face international sanctions.

In July, peace talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa between the Sudanese government and the two rebel groups in Darfur ended in failure.

Accusing the Sudanese government of failure to protect them from Arab militia attacks and of neglecting the region's development, the rebel groups took up arms against the government in February last year.

The United Nations considers Darfur as a place with the most serious humanitarian crisis in the world, which has left up to 10,000 people dead and some 1 million displaced.

(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2004)


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