Home | News    Tuesday 25 July 2006

Bush to meet leader of Darfur rebel group Tuesday

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July 24, 2006 (WASHINGTON) — U.S. President George W. Bush will meet with a leader of the Sudanese Liberation Army, the main rebel group in the African nation’s troubled western region of Darfur, the White House announced Monday.

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Minni Minawi

The focus of the discussion Tuesday between Bush and Minni Minnawi "will be on how to broaden support for the Darfur Peace Agreement, facilitate its implementation and ensure the expeditious deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur," the announcement said.

The meeting comes one week after Bush met with Sudanese Vice President Salva Kiir at the White House as part of a diplomatic effort to promote the deployment of an international force for Darfur.

"We talked about how best to get that done, in order to save lives. Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to be done," president Bush said as he and Kiir made a joint public appearance.

Earlier this month, the Sudanese Liberation Army, the only rebel group that signed the peace agreement on May 5, nominated Minnawi to the post of senior assistant to Sudan’s president. This would make him the head of what will be the Darfur Authority, the administration that will run Darfur as an autonomous part of Sudan once the terms of the peace accord have been implemented

The agreement, which the U.S. helped negotiate, sought to put a stop to three years of fighting between several rebel groups and pro-government forces that have killed around 300,000 people and displaced another 2 million.

The agreement isn’t popular in refugee camps in Darfur where many people have tribal links to the leader of a breakaway Sudan Liberation Army faction and argue that the peace terms are inadequate.

(ST/AP)

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