SUDAN WATCH: Darfur: Peace talks expected to conclude early 2006

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Darfur: Peace talks expected to conclude early 2006

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick told a Senate hearing Sep 28 that the recent upsurge of violence in Darfur might "possibly [be the parties] positioning for negotiations" in Abuja, and he said "a message" he wanted to convey strongly was that such a strategy would not be tolerated by the U.S. and definitely would be counterproductive.

Zoellick said the goal of U.S. aid, amounting to $1.9 billion since 2003, and U.S. military support, mainly airlifts for an AU security force that soon will number 7,700, is "to create a secure environment and political [and] tribal reconciliation so people can voluntarily return home safely, beginning in the first half of 2006"; about the time it is hoped the Abuja talks will have a successful conclusion.

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