SUDAN WATCH: Darfur war criminals chat and luxuriate in hotels while millions depend on UN aid

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Darfur war criminals chat and luxuriate in hotels while millions depend on UN aid

Still no breakthrough in Darfur peace talks today. Deadline is April 30.

Obasanjo and Sassou, the past and current AU chairmen, held all-night talks with the warring parties in a secluded guest house in Nigerian presidential complex and Sassou reconvened with them for a plenary on Sunday afternoon but failed to break the impasse.

Darfur peace talks impasse

Photo: Nigerian President Obasanjo (R) hosted the talks. Current AU chairman, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso (Reuters)

Mohamed Tughod, JEM chief negotiator

Photo: Mohamed Tugod, JEM chief negotiator

After two years of negotiations between the Sudanese government and two rebel groups (who's paying for the rebels' expenses, fancy suits and hotels?) there is this gem to report:
"I can't say that there are any tangible results," Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator for the JEM rebel group, said after today's talks.

"We are back to the stage of consultations between the parties and the mediation at the hotel."
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Meanwhile, in Darfur, where the uprising over the past three years has killed 400,000 people and forced 2 million to flee their homes, most parts are inaccessible for aid workers due to violence, anarchy and lack of security.

Sudan is the size of Europe or one quarter of the United States. North Darfur is 1,000 miles away from Khartoum. 7,500 African Union peacekeepers monitoring a non-existent peace agreement are hamstrung without a protection force mandate and helicopters. 14,000 aid workers in Darfur, a region the size of France, are hindered from their work by the Sudanese government, and risk their lives to reach the millions of displaced Sudanese people who rely on food aid and emergency relief.

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