Sudan's president expects progress in Darfur peace talks in Doha

08:30, February 20, 2010      

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Friday expected "pleasant news" to come from the peace talks in the Qatari capital of Doha between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups.

Negotiators of the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups were holding separate meetings with international mediators on the resumption of direct peace talks to settle the festering conflict in the western Sudanese region of Darfur.

"Today we will hear pleasant news from the negotiations continuing (in Doha) on the Darfur crisis," the Sudanese president told a gathering of local residents in Khartoum.

He said those who want Darfur to be an entry to hit the stability in Sudan would be disappointed, adding that "we are waiting to hear the pleasant news today."

Al-Bashir disclosed that Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno had played an important role in bringing closer the positions of the Sudanese government and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of the major rebel groups in Darfur.

"There is a message of thanks we must send to President Deby" who had been keeping in touch in the past four days with the Sudanese government and the JEM to bring closer the two sides, the Sudanese president said.

Delegates of the Sudanese government and Darfur rebel groups arrived in Doha on Jan. 24 for peace talks at the invitation of the United Nations, the African Union and the Qatari government.

However, no tangible progress has been achieved in pushing for a united position of the rebel movements in order to pave the way for the resumption of the direct negotiations.

The Sudanese government has announced the current peace talks in Doha should be the last round because general elections will be held in April this year.

The Darfur rebels held two rounds of talks with Sudanese government officials in Qatar -- in February and May last year.

Source: Xinhua
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