With key rebel leaders absent, there has been no breakthrough in the public opening session of Darfur peace talks. However those rebels who are attending the gathering in Libya and Sudanese government officials are to meet privately today.
UN envoy Jan Eliasson remains upbeat. “I refuse to state that the peace process is interrupted,” he said.
“The train has left the station for the road to peace. The question is how many passengers will get on the train. And we are ready to receive them.”
While welcoming a unilateral truce declared by Khartoum, Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown has threatened further sanctions unless progress is made.
“I will call on the United Nations to speed up deployment of forces of the African Union and the United Nations in Darfur but, of course, if parties do not come to the ceasefire, there is a possibility that we will impose further sanctions on the government of Sudan,” he said.
More than two million people have fled their homes in Darfur since fighting began in 2003. In figures contested by Khartoum, experts estimate some 200,000 people have been killed.