Sudan: Darfur rebels to start talks in Nigeria

Sudan's government and rebels from the war-ravaged Darfur region agreed to sit down for face-to-face talks Monday, after a week of bickering that had put discussions on hold.

The sixth round of peace talks on Darfur were officially launched in mid-September but, since then, government and rebel negotiators in Nigeria's capital have not held any direct discussions.

Instead, they attended several days of seminars on peace negotiating and then waited as Darfur's main rebel group argued about the makeup of its delegation. That dispute is still unresolved, but the African Union's chief mediator for Darfur, Salim Ahmed Salim, said talks on power-sharing in Darfur would begin Monday, the AP reports.

Since the negotiating teams arrived in Abuja, officials say the situation in Darfur has become much worse.

Salim said he could not understand "the killing of innocent civilians ... and the destruction of homes and the social fabric of communities in Darfur, when the major protagonists are all here in Abuja" to discuss peace. AM

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