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Sudan Accuses Western Countries of 'Blowing up' Darfur Issue

Visiting Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha on Sunday accused some Western countries of "blowing up" the crisis in Sudan's western Darfur region out of proportion.

"The Darfur problem has been blown up out of proportion," Taha told reporters following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

"It (the Darfur issue) was a typical African problem that stems from lack of development and service," he said, adding that the international sanctions imposed against Sudan had worsened the problem.

The Sudanese vice president also denied claims by the United States and some other Western countries that the Sudanese government had adopted an ethnic-cleansing policy in the conflicts-ridden region.

"The conflict in Darfur was a tribal one, not a political or ethnical cleansing issue," He said, adding "the problem was entirely different from what some people abroad had pictured it. "Rebels took up arms in the arid Darfur region in February 2003, accusing the government of negligence. Many people have been killed in the conflict and more displaced.

The African Union (AU) brokered a shaky cease-fire between two main Darfur rebel groups, namely the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Sudanese government in April 2004.

The pan-African body has since been struggling to find a lasting solution to the issue. It has so far sponsored six rounds of negotiations between the rebel groups and Khartoum, but the talks have yet to yield any substantial breakthrough. The seventh round of peace talks between the two sides is due to start in Abuja, Nigeria, later this month.

(Xinhua News Agency November 14, 2005)

Darfur Peace Talks End with Modest Progress Made
Darfur Rebels Free 36 from African Union
AU Condemns Attack on Peacekeepers in Darfur
AU Resumes Troops Deployment in Darfur
Death Toll Rises to 34 in Darfur Camp Attack
Peace Talks on Sudan's Darfur Crisis Resume in Nigeria
UN Chief Calls for Political Settlement in Sudan
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