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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Obasanjo, Bashir discuss Sudan’s Darfur crisis with Mubarak in Cairo

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Dec 12, 2004 (PANA) — A senior Sudanese official said President Omar Hassan El-Bashir and Presidents Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria will Sunday discuss developments in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region and progress of the Darfur peace talks underway in Abuja, Nigeria.

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Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak receives Sudanese president Omar El Bashir.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail said the African leaders plan to hold the mini-summit Sunday in Cairo, Egypt.

African Union (AU) chairman, Obasanjo is convenor of the Abuja talks, aimed at resolving the conflict in Darfur which has killed an estimated 70,000 persons and turned more than a million others into refugees and displaced persons since rebels rose up against the government in February 2003.

“President El -Bashir and President (Mohammed Hosni) Mubarak will also discuss the ongoing peace process in the Sudan and bilateral relations,” Osman Ismail told a press conference here Saturday night.

Ismail said foreign ministers from Sudan, Egypt, Chad, Nigeria, and Libya would meet on the same day in Cairo to review the implementation of recommendations issued by the five-nation summit convened recently in Tripoli, Libya.

That summit was devoted to the situation in the Darfur region as well as preparations for a similar summit to follow up the peace process and conditions in the region.

Meanwhile, the government-owned Sudan Media Centre reported
Sunday that Chad has agreed to mediate talks on Saturday between the Sudanese government and a recently identified third rebel group, the National Movement for Reform and Development (NMRD).

It said Chad had agreed to mediate at the request of the Sudanese government, after the other two armed opposition groups had refused to include NMRD in the mainstream talks.

Khartoum dailies also said AU mediators refused to grant
recognition to NMRD delegates who spent weeks in an Abuja hotel between August and September when the talks were being held.

A Sudanese government delegation led by Investment Minister Al-Sherif Ahmed Badr already arrived in Chad for talks with the NMRD, the media centre said.

The delegation would hold an exploratory round of negotiations with the rebel group, it added.

Sudan, Africa’s largest country, is faced with a two-decade-old civil war in south. But, according to the government in Khartoum and rebels in the South, the conflict might end with the signing of a comprehensive peace pact on or before 31 December 2004.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) has been
fighting since 1983 for greater autonomy from Khartoum and a
greater share of the country’s wealth for the largely Christian and animist south.

The conflict in the Darfur region started in February 2003 when the government attempted to crush rebel groups who took up arms to fight for recognition and resources for their under-developed region.