Darfur talks too slow, British foreign secretary says

Talks aimed at bringing peace to Sudan's troubled Darfur region are moving far too slowly, and both sides are breaking their promises, Britain's foreign secretary wrote in a newspaper editorial published Friday.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the parties were regularly violating a cease-fire agreement, while millions in Darfur continue to suffer.

"The only people who have the power to stop this are those who gathered around the table in Abuja," Nigeria, for peace talks this week, Straw wrote in the International Herald Tribune. "They must end the haggling and posturing and start taking real action to put Darfur back together again."

An estimated 180,000 people have died in Darfur, mainly of hunger and disease, and about 2 million have been displaced since the conflict started three years ago. It began when rebels from the region's ethnic African population revolted, accusing the Arab-dominated government in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, of discrimination and decades of neglect.

The government is widely alleged to have used Arab militias, called Janjaweed, to counter the insurgency. The government denies it supports the Janjaweed, who are accused of carrying out sweeping atrocities against ethnic African villagers, reports the AP.

I.L.

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