Deadline for Darfur talks extended by 48 hours
The talks are aimed at ending a conflict in Darfur that has killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.4 mn others in three years of fighting.india Updated: May 01, 2006 10:57 IST
A deadline for a peace agreement in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region was extended by 48 hours on Monday, the African Union's negotiator Salim Ahmed Salim said.
"We have to stop the clock for the next 48 hours to allow the parties to hold more talks. The peace accord is on my desk and either of the parties can come and sign it," Salim told a last-ditch meeting of negotiators from the rebels and the Sudanese government.
He was speaking at a meeting, attended by rebels from Sudan's western war-torn Darfur region and the Sudanese government with mediators from the African Union (AU) and international bodies, which started at 11:40 pm on Sunday.
The talks are aimed at ending a conflict in Darfur that has killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.4 million others in three years of fighting.
Earlier on Sunday, the AU-brokered peace deal had looked in peril as two rebel groups announced their refusal to sign it and the AU insisted the content of the agreement would not be changed.
The rebel Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had issued statements of a "joint position" not to sign the peace accord.
Reservations raised by the rebels include claims that the AU document did not consider giving the country's vice presidency to the Darfur region, nor did it adequately resolve other power-sharing and wealth distribution issues.
The Sudanese government delegation from Khartoum reiterated its readiness to sign the peace accord.