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Sudan rejects foreign interference
www.chinaview.cn 2004-08-14 12:54:28

   KHARTOUM, Aug. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- Sudan on Friday reaffirmed its readiness to talk with rebels in the troubled western region of Darfur as well as its opposition to foreign intervention in the solution of the problem.

   The Sudanese government is willing to resume negotiations with the rebel groups from war-torn Darfur during a round of talks scheduled for later this month in Nigeria, State Foreign Minister Naguib al-Khair Abdel Wahab said Friday.

   "We are ready to go to any corner of the world to negotiate a settlement to the political issue in Darfur," Wahab said, in response to statements by the Darfur rebel movements that they were not ready for talks in Abuja, capital of Nigeria.

   One of the main rebel groups, the Movement for Justice and Equality, said Thursday it was willing to negotiate but said it would not make it to Nigeria by the scheduled date of Aug. 23.

   The other main group, the Sudan Liberation Army, had also expressed doubts as to whether it could send representatives to Abuja.

   Also on Friday, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said in an interview with CNN that his government will not accept foreign interference in Darfur in any case.

   The government has full confidence that all parties will reach an agreement on ways to resolve the Darfur issue, he said.

   Bashir said he has ordered tribal leaders in the region to form security forces to disarm Arab militia men.

   The president reiterated his opposition to foreign intervention and the deployment of any foreign troops in Darfur.

   "We are not willing to accept any foreign forces, because honestly foreign forces will only complicate the situation," he said.

   A senior Sudanese official said the government will also demand rebels in Darfur curb their movements when they meet at peace talks later this month.

   "We will call for the limiting of the rebel areas and the places where they have a presence," official media quoted Northern Darfur State Governor Osman Yousif Kibr as saying.

   African mediators are struggling to negotiate an end to the armed conflict and alleged humanitarian crisis in Darfur, where fighting since early 2003 has already claimed between 30,000 and 50,000 lives according to the United Nations.

   On Saturday, the first half of a 300-strong African force will be airlifted to  Darfur but it is tasked solely with protecting a team of observers monitoring a cease-fire between Khartoum and the rebels.

   The truce has been repeatedly violated since it was reached in April. The African Union has drawn up plans to boost its forces by sending up to 2,000 peacekeepers to Sudan.

   The United Nations estimates violence in Darfur has also displaced 1 million people and made 2 million short of food and medicine.

   The UN Security Council passed a resolution on July 30 giving the Sudanese government 30 days to crack down on pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias, who have been accused of committing war crimes against Darfur's ethnic black Africans, or face international action.

   Khartoum now has about two weeks to show it is serious about disarming the militia and prosecuting its leaders, or face UN sanctions.

   UN spokesman Farhan Haq said Friday that Sudan is this weekend to list zones in the troubled Darfur region that can be secured for displaced persons in 30 days.

   "The foreign minister of Sudan presented a set of measures," he said. "That included a list of areas in Darfur the Sudanese government proposes can be made safe and secure within 30 days."

   The UN World Food Program said it had reached a deal with Darfur rebels to facilitate truck supplies carrying relief aid to the area under their control. This followed the arrival of the first WFP food shipment in Libya on Wednesday.  Enditem
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