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AU stresses seeking solution to Darfur crisis within African framework


KHARTOUM, August 01, 2004 (Xinhua) — Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, also current Chairman of the African Union (AU), stressed Sunday that the security and humanitarian crisis in Sudan ’s west region of Darfur should be resolved within African framework.

Obasanjo made the call at a press conference after talking with his Sudanese counterpart Omar Hassan Ahmed El-Bashir.

He told reporters that the Darfur crisis is a domestic issue of an AU member state. Compared with other international organizations, the AU is in a better position to find out situation there accurately and objectively. It also knows the way to an objective solution to the problem.

The AU just hopes the international community will stand behind it with help and support, Obasanjo noted, adding that the bloc will continue its efforts on the issue.

The chairman said the Sudanese government has exerted efforts to seek a satisfactory solution through regional and international organizations.

The country has allowed the AU to send an observer group composed of hundreds of military servicemen to Darfur as supervisors of the ceasefire agreement clinched on April 8.

The region of Darfur plunged into conflict in February 2003, when two rebel forces took up arms against the Sudanese government, accusing the authorities of not protecting them from the attacks of Arab militias and demanding autonomy.

Under intensive international mediation efforts, the government reached a ceasefire agreement with the armed opposition in April, but the accord has not been implemented in earnest, with more civilians killed.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Friday, threatening sanctions against Sudan if it fails to disarm the marauding Arab militia in the troubled Darfur region and to prosecute its leaders.

The resolution, however, was rebuffed by the Sudanese government.

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