From AKI [via CFD] today - France Invites Rebels For Talks
France has invited the main rebel group in Sudan's ethnically troubled Darfur region, the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA) for talks in Paris, its leader Abd al-Wahid Muhammad Ahmad al-Nur told Adnkronos International (AKI) on Tuesday. Talks between the SLA and the French government revolved around "the way to achieve peace in Darfur," and not the African Union-sponsored peace accord in Abuja, Nigeria, which the SLA has not adhered to, he said, speaking in the French capital.
Al-Nur praised France's role in Darfur saying he "welcomed" any initiative by Paris to resolve the conflict, which he said was rooted in three issues: "authority, resources and land".
The SLA leader denied that his group has receiving weapons from abroad saying it had to draw on its "own strengths" in its struggle against the Sudanese authorities and their allied local Arab militias, the Janjaweed. "We get our weapons through raids against the army and the police from whom we seize what they've got," said al-Nur.
Addressing a news conference in Paris, al-Nur also praised the role of the United Nations and the United States in Darfur, but asked for "more incisive action" to end the "mass killings".
Al-Nur said his movement controls 70 percent of Darfur, a territory as large as France.
The SLA was formed in 1992 with the aim of keeping the state and religion separate in Sudan in contrast to moves by the central government Khartoum to turn the country into an Islamist state.