SUDAN WATCH: Sudan rebels say fresh bombing raids on Darfur threaten peace talks

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Sudan rebels say fresh bombing raids on Darfur threaten peace talks

SLA and the JEM rebels said Sudanese government forces launched fresh bombing raids on areas of Darfur under its control. The raids were in and around the towns of Haskanit on Thursday and Al-Mahla on Friday. Both towns lie near rebel bases.

"If things continue like this, there is no way we are going to stay in Abuja to talk about peace," SLA spokesman said, threatening to counterattack government and Janjaweed forces.

Officials with the AU-backed Cease-fire Commission, in Sudan and Nigeria, said they had no knowledge of the attacks.

During the Darfur peace talks in Nigeria this past week, the Sudanese government and two Darfur rebel groups SLM and JEM each gave separate presentations outlining long-term political solutions to the conflict, but they did not interact.

The government proposed devolving more power to Darfur’s three states. The SLM called for a separation of religion and state.

Neither the government nor the Islamist JEM referred to the role of religion in their proposals.

Face-to-face talks expected late yesterday did not take place. Instead, rebel and government delegates held a series of separate discussions with AU mediators and Nigerian Foreign Minister, aimed at breaking deadlock over a hoped-for security accord.

Last night's discussions went on past midnight, but the mediators failed to get the parties to sign an accord.

Negotiations are expected to reconvene tomorrow.
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Mediators from the African union has proposed a security agreement project for both the two delegations of the government and the rebels who are holding a round of talks in Abuja, capital of Nigeria. One official in the African Union said that the two delegations will study the documents and will be meeting "after several days" to ratify it.

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