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06 Aug 2007 11:01
Darfur rebel factions meeting in Tanzania have reached a common negotiating position and want “final” talks on peace with Sudan’s government within months, United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) mediators said on Monday.
“They ... recommended that final talks should be held between two to three months from now,” the UN special envoy to Darfur, Jan Eliasson, said.
The rebels had been meeting over the weekend in a Tanzanian luxury resort in Arusha near Mount Kilimanjaro.
Speaking on behalf of the UN and AU, Eliasson added that the Darfur groups had reached “a common platform” for such talks, and remained open to rebel leaders who had not attended the negotiations.
The absence of some influential rebel leaders had raised doubts over the chances of the talks succeeding.
Khartoum accused Paris of failing to encourage one prominent leader—Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur—to attend.
The large Sudan Liberation Army-Unity faction also declined to participate in the talks in protest at the fact that its humanitarian coordinator, Suleiman Jamous, is virtually imprisoned in a UN hospital near Darfur.
The rebels, Eliasson said, “decided to keep open the possibility for those who were invited but did not participate in the Arusha consultations to join their common platform, in order to have an inclusive representation”.
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