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Darfur peace talks to relocate to Obasanjo’s farm

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Sept 16, 2005 (ABUJA) — Peace talks to end the crisis in Sudan’s Darfur region, which resumed in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja Thursday, will relocate to the sprawling Otta farm owned by Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo near Lagos, the country’s economic capital, a government official has announced.

Permanent Secretary in Nigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nwadibia Anyanwu, announced in Abuja Thursday that the decision to relocate was to ensure the peace talks continued to be held in a "more serene and conducive atmosphere".

She said the relocation would also attain the objective of more focused discussions and a speedy successful conclusion of the negotiations.

"We therefore look forward to the cooperation of all parties to achieve this noble objective," Anyanwu said. The talks have been held in Abuja since 2003.

Though she did not give the exact date of relocation, indications are that the venue would be shifted after next week, when the negotiations proper are scheduled to start.

According to the programme for the talks, the parties will spend the next week in Abuja holding consultations and bilateral meetings, as well as workshops and seminars on the three main issues to dominate the sixth session - power sharing, wealth
sharing and security.

Meanwhile, the African mission in Sudan (AMIS) has appealed to parties represented at the talks to genuinely search for a
compromise solution.

Babagana Kingibe, special representative of the AU chairperson
and head of AMIS, gave the advice Thursday night in Abuja, at a ceremony to kick-start the sixth round.

He said the approach, if honestly discharged by the parties, would best serve their cause and their country.

"I am convinced that all of you believe in honourable peace for which the rights of all your fellow citizens are dully
protected,"’ Kingibe said.

He was referring to the Sudanese government and the two main rebel groups, Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which were fully represented at the ceremony.

Kingibe said the meeting had converged in Abuja with a
greater determination to work for a speedy and peaceful
resolution of the conflict in Darfur, which has left about
200,000 dead and over 2 million displaced since it broke out in
February 2003.

(PANA/ST)

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