Negotiator: Darfur rebels may be ready for deal - Proposal calls for thousands militants to join Sudanese security forces
A proposal drafted by the US and Britain to help end the war in Darfur meets key rebel demands and could set the stage for a peace accord, a rebel negotiator said Thursday.
The negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity because the parties involved had been asked not to reveal details of the proposal, said it called for thousands of rebels to be integrated into Sudanese security forces.
Sudanese government officials were not immediately available for comment.
The negotiator said the draft called for a minimum of 4,000 rebels to be integrated into Sudan's armed forces and another 1,000 in the police force. In addition, 3,000 rebels would be given training and education to prepare them for civilian life.
The negotiator said the concessions from the Sudanese government make agreement possible, though the rebels remained concerned about security arrangements.
Negotiations went late into the night Wednesday, as Zoellick met with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, a key figure in peacemaking efforts across Africa.
African leaders including Obasanjo and Denis Sassou-Nguesso - president of the Republic of Congo and current head of the 53-nation African Union - scheduled a meeting with AU mediators six hours before the deadline to make a final push for an agreement. Following that, African presidents were to meet with the warring parties.