News and Information

Darfur peace deal 'to be signed'
November 9, 2004
The Sudanese Government and rebel leaders from Darfur have agreed to sign two accords aimed at ending the crisis.

"What has been finalised is the security and humanitarian protocols," Sudanese Deputy Foreign Minister Najeib Abdel-Wahab told reporters.

Earlier, government objections to a no-fly zone over Darfur had stalled the talks taking place in Nigeria.

Some 70,000 people have died in the 21-month conflict. Detoriorating security is hampering aid efforts, the UN says.

"We hope this will be the first stage toward the improvement of the situation on the ground," Ahmed Hussein Adam from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) group said.

The deal comes three weeks into African Union (AU)- sponsored talks in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Nigeria President Olusugun Obasanjo - who is the current AU chairman - is expected to attend an official signing ceremony at the talks' venue.

Last week the United Nations warned of anarchy in Darfur, where some 1.6 million people have fled their homes.

UN officials arrived in Sudan on Monday to probe genocide allegations.

Pro-government Janjaweed militias are accused of driving the region's black Africans from their villages, since two rebel groups began an uprising in February 2003.

A 3,000-strong AU peacekeeping force to protect ceasefire monitors is expected to be in place by the end of the month.


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