Rebel leader in Darfur want talks in NL
Rebels from the Sudanese province of Darfur have asked the Netherlands to host possible peace talks with the Sudanese government.
4 February 2008
KHARTOUM – Rebels from the Sudanese province of Darfur have asked the Netherlands to host possible peace talks with the Sudanese government. Ministers Bert Koenders (Development cooperation) and Maxime Verhagen (Foreign affairs) will discuss the request on Tuesday. Both ministers are visiting Sudan this week.
"The Netherlands would be a good option for peace talks," Ahmed Abdelshafi, an important commander of the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A), said on Monday.
"We delivered a letter to the Dutch ambassador in Khartoum in October, asking that peace talks be held in the Netherlands."
Abdelshafi will meet with Koenders and Verhagen on Tuesday afternoon. He hopes the ministers will have an answer to his request. "But I cannot anticipate the outcome of the talk. We will see what is on the agenda of the Dutch ministers."
On Monday a spokesperson for the ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague did not want to comment on the upcoming meeting on Tuesday.
There is not much chance that peace talks could be organised quickly. "Peace talks are a possibility. But as long as the government continues to use violence, we will do so as well," Abdelshafi says.
Nine rebel groups from Darfur, including six different factions of the SLM, concluded a pact in November to cooperate as a concerted rebel movement.
The Dutch ministers will be visiting Sudan this week. They will also travel to the region of Darfur, where the struggle between government militia and various rebel groups has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives over the past five years.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news