Talks in Tanzania are set to begin today on trying to solve the Darfur crisis. The joint African Union-UN meeting is supposed to establish a framework for peace talks between the Darfur rebels and Sudanese government, but already the largest rebel faction has threatened not to attend. This latest problem coincided with the first African troop pledges to a new peacekeeping force approved by the UN earlier this week.
The hybrid force of around 26,000 personnel will take over from a struggling AU military presence which has had little impact on the conflict. More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in Darfur since the rebellion erupted in 2003.
The rebel group threatening to boycott today’s talks is angry that one of its leaders has been threatened with arrest by the Sudanese government if he attends. A previous AU mediated peace deal disintegrated after only one rebel group signed up while non signatories split into more than a dozen factions.