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Sudan says will free Darfur rebel Jamous for talks

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August 8, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan said on Thursday it would lift a threat to arrest Darfur rebel figure Suleiman Jamous when peace talks start to end more than four years of conflict.

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Suleiman Jamous (reuters)

Jamous is seen as key to uniting fractured insurgents in Sudan’s remote west.

"When there are real talks for sure he will be set free," State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Karti told Reuters. He declined to say whether there would be conditions on his release.

Jamous has been virtually imprisoned in a U.N. hospital near Darfur for more than 13 months after the United Nations airlifted him there for medical treatment. Khartoum was not informed of the U.N. move and calls Jamous a criminal. It had said he would be arrested if he leaves U.N. care.

"At that time we will see if there are any conditions or if we don’t need to make any conditions. That is something to be considered at the right time," Karti said.

U.S. actress Mia Farrow this week offered her freedom to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in exchange for the elderly and respected Jamous.

Jamous was the rebel Sudan Liberation Army humanitarian coordinator and helped the world’s largest aid operation get access to hundreds of thousands in need in the vast region.

Last week 11 prominent activists including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, former Czech President Vaclav Havel and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams asked Bashir to release Jamous.

(Reuters)

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