May 2, 2006


Sudan rebels hold key to peace pact: Seek concessions as deadline looms Government ready to disarm militia (BASHIR ADIGUN, 5/02/06, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

With a midnight tonight deadline approaching after more than two years of talks here, Sudan's government said it was ready to sign a peace accord with rebels from Darfur.

But the western rebels, suspicious of government intentions, rejected the draft by the African Union. They said it did not guarantee enough political power for Darfur or give enough detail on how it would be implemented. [...]

Rebels in the arid region the size of France have fought since 2003 what they see as neglect by the Arab-dominant government. Militias allied to Khartoum, known as Janjaweed and drawn mainly from Arab tribes, have worked to crush the rebellion. [...]

AU mediator Salim said the pact would create a transitional authority for the region, including rebel representatives, and proposes that Darfuris vote by 2010 on whether to create a single entity out of its three states. The AU has 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur.

The draft calls for the president to include a rebel-nominated Darfur official, among his top advisers, with "all the attributes of a vice-president, except the name," Salim said, noting the constitution, under the treaty ending the north-south war, permits two vice-presidents.

Yesterday marked the first day of the World Food Program's cut in food rations by half for about 3 million refugees in Darfur because of a shortage of money. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is expected to arrive in Nigeria's capital today, in a bid to break the talks' stalemate. Washington calls the Darfur violence "genocide."

The Sudan has already accepted the loss of its Christian/Animist South; losing the black West is inevitable. The rebels just have to accept victory.

Darfur's rebels pressed on deal (BBC, 5/02/06)

US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and UK Development Secretary Hilary Benn are both in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, where the talks were due to end on Sunday, before being extended until midnight on Tuesday.

AU mediator Salim Ahmed Salim urged the black African rebels "to show leadership and make the compromises necessary for peace, for the sake of the people of Darfur".

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 2, 2006 8:32 AM
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