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Britain supports Qatari efforts to host Darfur talks

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November 3, 2008 (DOHA) – British Prime Minister has backed the Qatari sponsorship of peace talks to end the five conflict in Darfur. Aldo also called with his Qatari counterpart on the Sudanese parties to cooperate for the solution of the conflict.

British Prime Minister Gorder Brown, who was touring the Gulf states during the week end and his Qatari counterpart, Sheik Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani, issued a statement Sunday calling on all the Sudanese parties to engage with the Qatar bid to host the peace talks.

The Arab League asked Qatar in July to spearhead a joint Arab and African efforts to end the crisis.

Consultations are under way to set a date for the conference. But Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, Ahmed bin Abdallah al-Mahmoud, has cautioned that the peace talks would need good preparation to succeed.

Malloch-Brown, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister, told the press in Doha “The UK is committed to securing a lasting peace settlement in Darfur. We welcome all constructive initiatives towards that, under the overall leadership of the United Nations/African Union joint chief mediator Gibril Bassole whose work we strongly support.”

The minister further said “We hope the initiative proposed by Qatar for a peace conference can make a positive contribution to these efforts with the participation of all relevant actors."

France which has close ties with the tiny Gulf state also backed the Qatari efforts and sent technical teams to support plans for the peace talks on Darfur conflict.

The Darfur conflict began in early 2003 when rebels took up arms against central government. Up to 300,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million have been chased from their homes since the fighting began.

(ST)

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