President George W Bush telephoned Sudanese President Umar Hasan al-Bashir to urge him to commit to reaching a peace accord with rebel groups in Darfur, as Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with all sides in Nigeria in a bid to keep the talks alive, Bloomberg
reported today. Excerpt:
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters today that in the call, Bush told Bashir he sent Zoellick to foster a breakthrough, and asked the Sudanese leader to send his vice president, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, back to the negotiations as a signal of Sudan's desire to end the fighting.
"We will be looking for the government of Sudan to follow through on what the president brought up in the call," McClellan said.
Note, the report says AU mediator Sam Ibok was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that a further two-day extension of the talks was under consideration.