Leaders of Darfur’s various rebel groups have arrived in northern Tanzania for talks with the African Union and the UN. The aim is to iron out their own differences, before peace talks with the Sudanese government. But one leader from the Sudan Liberation Movement has boycotted the talks, saying his group wants the killings to stop first. The African Union Special Envoy Salim Ahmed Salim said: “The governments of the European Union have come out with a statement urging everybody to be here. The United States have done so. The UN Security Council has done so. So there is nothing else that we can do about it. So really it is regrettable that he is not here, but this process will continue. This process will not be held hostage by anybody, because what is at stake is the future of the people of Darfur”. The conflict in Darfur erupted four years ago, when ethnic African tribes took up arms against the Muslim government in Khartoum. Independent observers say more than 200,000 people have died, and 2-and-a-half-million have been displaced, though the government says the figures are considerably lower than that. This week the UN security council approved the deployment of 26,000 peacekeeping troops and police to stop the bloodshed in Darfur.
Rebel leaders gather for peace talks in Tanzania