Wednesday, November 22, 2006

African leaders agree to resolve Darfur conflict - VP Taha reiterates Sudan's rejection of any type of guardianship or foreign intervention

Nov 22 2006 Aljazeera (Agencies) 22 Nov 2006 - African leaders agree to resolve Darfur conflict - excerpt:
Arab and African leaders held a mini-summit on Darfur in Libya, where they agreed to work together to resolve the conflict "without foreign intervention."

The presidents of Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, Eritrea and the Central African Republic met in Tripoli on Tuesday amid rising impatience from both the United States and United Nations, who pressure the Sudanese government to fully accept a plan that would allow the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in Darfur.

"This summit opens the road for us to approach the end of the current situation in Darfur and end the tension between Sudan and its neighbors, Chad and the Central African Republic," Egypt's state news agency, MENA, quoted President Hosni Mubarak as saying.

Ali al-Treiki, Libya's secretary of African affairs, also said that the summit participants agreed on an "African solution" for Darfur, and called on the rebel groups to sign a January peace accord known as the "Abuja agreement".

He added that Chad's Idriss Deby Itno and CAR President Francois Bozize agreed to go to Khartoum to iron their differences.

Meanwhile, President Idriss Daby said he was optimistic the Tripoli meeting would revive a deal between Chad and Sudan, in which both nations agreed not to back rebels on the other's soil. "Today I return with great hope to my country, because this meeting was better than those before in February," he said.

The Darfur conflict has spilled over the border into eastern Chad and the northern CAR, who accuse Khartoum of trying to destabilize their countries.

On the other hand, Khartoum accuses Chad of backing the rebels in Darfur.

Mixed AU-UN force

The Tripoli meeting comes a week after Sudan signed a deal with the United Nations that allows the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to back the African Union mission in Darfur.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and other regional leaders have long rejected plans to replace the existing 7,000-member AU peacekeeping force with a stronger UN mission. But the Sudanese government said it signed the recent agreement to deploy a mixed AU-UN force in the war-torn region.

Triki said that the deployment would be discussed between Sudan, the UN and the AU, adding that African and Sudanese leaders "want an African solution to their problems without external intervention and without the putting pressure on Sudan."

Another Libyan official, who demanded anonymity, said Tripoli was keen to find a "radical solution to the Darfur crisis to avoid the deployment of international forces."

Earlier this week, Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi said that the presence of UN forces in Darfur would amount to a return to "colonialism", adding that Sudan's army can curb violence better than foreign troops.

Meanwhile, Sudan's Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha reiterated his country's "rejection of any type of guardianship or foreign intervention in the country".

Addressing a meeting of the ruling party politburo in Khartoum on Wednesday, Taha also said that "there's no room for medium positions in the question of the UN forces."
Bashir in Tripoli

(AFP Photo) Sudanese President Omar Bashir upon his arrival to Tripoli.

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