U.S. envoy says Darfur talks to be extended
ABUJA, Nigeria – The African Union will extend the deadline for a peace pact aimed at resolving the violence in Sudan’s Darfur region, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick said late Tuesday.His announcement came with time running out on a midnight deadline for mediators to get rebels and the government to strike a deal.”I believe there has to be an end to this process,” Zoellick said.Zoellick, who was joined in Abuja by a top British official, Hilary Benn, shuttled among the groups, listening to complaints and making suggestions for compromise, according to a member of the U.S. delegation.Rebels stuck to their demands for concessions on security and power-sharing. The Sudanese government said it approved a draft of the peace deal first circulated last week at the AU-hosted talks.The African Union had originally set a Sunday deadline, but extended the talks by 48 hours when the rebels rejected an AU draft agreement.The three-year conflict has led to the deaths of at least 180,000 people and the displacement of more than 2 million. The AU-mediated peace talks in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, have dragged on for two years.Vail, Colorado
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