SUDAN WATCH: Dramatic development in next few days? African leaders to push for Darfur talks breakthrough

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Dramatic development in next few days? African leaders to push for Darfur talks breakthrough

Sudanese Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha might attend Darfur peace talks Saturday in what observers said was perhaps a signal Khartoum would be willing to make new concessions.

Congo Republic's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, current chairman of the AU, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare are due to take part in Saturday's meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

The African heads of state will push the warring parties to clinch a peace agreement at a meeting on April 8 that all sides said on Tuesday could help break the deadlock.

"Vice-President Taha would not be coming if the talks hadn't reached a critical stage ... I expect dramatic developments in the next few days," said a government delegate.

"The presence of heads of state at peace negotiations in Africa is a big deal and it usually ends up breaking impasses," said Berhanu Dinka, who chairs negotiations on power-sharing, one of the three areas under discussion.

"We are in the last straight line before the finish ... We have high hopes of securing an agreement before the 30th," said Boubou Niang, who chairs the wealth-sharing negotiations.

"What we need now is for the two sides to take courageous political decisions and make concessions," he added.

Full report Reuters 4 Apr 2006.

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