Sudan rejects Paris conference on Darfur

13th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

KHARTOUM, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - Sudan on Wednesday formally rejected an international conference on Darfur to be held in Paris this month because it was not consulted beforehand, the foreign ministry said.

KHARTOUM, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - Sudan on Wednesday formally rejected an international conference on Darfur to be held in Paris this month because it was not consulted beforehand, the foreign ministry said.

Sudan made its position known to French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner who was in the Sudanese capital on Monday for talks with President Omar al-Beshir.

"The Sudanese party has informed the French minister that it has rejected the conference," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

While preparing the conference, France did not consult with Sudan... which is the main party concerned," it said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said at a G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany on Thursday that an international conference on the Darfur conflict would take place in Paris on June 25.

Sarkozy said the meeting would bring together the countries involved in the conflict in the western Sudan as well as China to discuss a political solution and humanitarian and security issues.

Khartoum said the French-sponsored conference risked "scattering the efforts" to find a solution to the four-year conflict in the western Sudanese region which has left at least 200,000 dead, according to UN figures.

On Monday, Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol shrugged off the conference as ill-timed and a distraction to current peace efforts and Sudanese presidential advisor Ghazi Atabani expressed fears that the conference would create a "parallel initiative" to talks between the AU, UN and Sudan.

Khartoum reached a peace agreement with Darfur rebels on May 5, 2006 in Nigeria but only one of three negotiating rebel factions endorsed the deal and violence has since spiralled.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when an ethnic minority rose up against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, which then enlisted the Janjaweed militia group to help crush the rebellion.

Sudan on Tuesday agreed to final phase of a UN-sponsored plan for the deployment of a hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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