Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Annan, African leaders to hold Sudan talks

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will hold talks with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and other African leaders on peace initiatives in Sudan and Ivory Coast on Thursday, a Nigerian spokeswoman said.

Mr Obasanjo organised the talks in the Ghanaian capital Accra in his capacity as chairman of the African Union (AU), his spokeswoman Remi Oyo said.

"A meeting has been scheduled in Accra on Thursday this week, to be attended by UN Secretary-General and some African leaders including President Obasanjo, to discuss some peace initiatives in Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)," Ms Oyo told journalists in the Nigerian capital.

Mr Obasanjo has also sent former Nigerian president Abdulsalam Abubakar as his peace envoy to Sudan and Chad.

Fighting in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted more than one million people, many of them fleeing to neighbouring Chad.

The AU had been hoping to send 270 troops to protect 60 AU cease-fire observers in Sudan's Darfur region by the end of July, but the plan has been dogged by confusion over their exact role.

Diplomats worry about the possibility of clashes between an AU force and troops of member state Sudan.

Nigeria itself has prepared 120 troops for the mission.

Darfur rebels walked out of peace talks earlier this month after Khartoum rejected its preconditions for talks, including the disarmament of pro-government Janjaweed militia.

The Accra talks will also offer Ivory Coast rebels a chance to sit down with the Government to defuse a crisis that has already killed thousands and left more than a million displaced in two years.

By In Solidarity 27 July 04


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