Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Summit in Tripoli closed with emphasis on getting aid to the refugees - Sudan hints at Darfur power share - JEM says Libya can play a very vital role

The BBC's correspondent in Tripoli, Mike Donkin, filed a report on October 18, saying the summit meeting in Tripoli has, on the face of it, produced real signs of movement to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

A Sudanese government delegate said that the summit had agreed that granting a federal Sudan might offer the best hope for a solution. That way the Darfur region would have its own governor and parliament, he notes.

No matter how many news reports I read re Darfur, it is still unclear what is going on with aid. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been paid by the US and UK but reports quote the U.N. as saying that since March 70,000 have died as a result of Darfur's civil war - many starving or succumbing to illness.

UN Security Council resolutions call on Khartoum to stop the violence so that humanitarian aid can reach those who need it, and threaten sanctions against Sudan as a way of solving the crisis. How will imposing no fly zones and sanctions feed and get flow of aid to the refugees? If there is an arms embargo - cheap arms and stuff are still bound to get in to Sudan via unethical countries.

Peace talks are the key -- it is absolutely crucial that the peace talks succeed. They start again in a few days time on Oct 21.

Summit bringing together leaders from Nigeria, Egypt, Chad and Sudan was chaired and hosted in Tripoli by Col Muammar Gaddafi of Libya

Sudan's government says it is ready to consider giving the crisis-stricken Darfur region its own federal state, following talks with African leaders.

Egyptian presidential spokesman Maged Abdel Fattah said "we should all try to help Sudan to implement its obligations in accordance with resolutions" and warned against "putting pressure on Sudan or threatening [it] with sanctions".

The summit also gave its backing to peace talks between Khartoum and rebels based in Darfur, which are due to resume on 21 October.

Journalists were barred from the meeting, which was convened and chaired by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, clad in brightly-coloured African robes.

Speaking before the summit, Libyan Foreign Minister Abdul Rahman Sharkum told the BBC: "These five leaders are helping the efforts of the African Union."

"We are going to accelerate and to facilitate the process of peace and the negotiation between all sides and also to find a way for more troops, African troops to come to Darfur on the ground."

The sending of the African Union troops to Darfur has been delayed by a lack of funds

Preparations to house the 300 Rwandan soldiers due to arrive in Darfur on Sunday were not made on time, Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Muligande told the Associated Press news agency. The African Union hopes to have a 4,500-strong force in place by the end of November. It already has about 300 unarmed Nigerian and Rwandan troops in place.

Gaddafi to hear views of Darfur rebel groups separately - JEM say Libya can play vital role but doubt Egypt and Chad

Mr Gaddafi is due to meet two rebel groups separately to hear their views on Darfur. "We think Libya can play a very vital role," said Tag el-Din Bashir Nyam, a member of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). "[He] wants to listen directly to us so he can take some kind of an initiative."

But JEM seemed more sceptical about the role of other summit leaders. "Egypt and Chad want Libya to pressure Darfur rebels to avoid an internationalisation of the conflict and force them to sign agreement that will not meet their aspirations," an official told AFP news agency.

BBC news Sudan's Darfur 'safer than Iraq'

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