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AU’s Konare heads to Nigeria for talks on Togo, Darfur

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LAGOS, April 29 (AFP) — African Union commission chief Alpha Oumar Konare will meet AU chairman President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria on Saturday for talks on crises in Togo and Sudan’s western region of Darfur, officials said.

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Alpha Oumar Konare

The trip precedes what is hoped will be the re-opening next month of AU-sponsored peace talks between Khartoum and Darfur’s main rebel groups and comes a day after the body decided to double its peace mission in the region.

The talks are expected to cover "essential questions about the resumption of negotiations in Abuja, the expansion of the force in Darfur and the situation in Togo," said AU spokesman Adam Thiam.

Obasanjo’s spokeswoman Remi Oyo said the two men would meet on Saturday at the Nigerian leader’s private farm at Ota, in the southwest of the country.

There is not expected to be any press conference after the meeting, but a statement may be released.

Late Thursday, the AU’s Peace and Security Council agreed to boost the strength of its Darfur peace monitoring mission from the 3,320 it will have by the end of May to 7,731 by end of September.

Obasanjo, the current chair of the African Union, has played a key role in trying to bring Darfur’s warring factions to the peace table to end two years of conflict in which up to 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed and more than a million displaced.

AU headquarters in Addis Ababa has yet to make any public comment on the situation in Togo following Sunday’s disputed elections there, but Obasanjo has urged the west African nation to form a unity government.

On Tuesday, violence erupted in Lome’s streets, after officials announced that Faure Gnassingbe, candidate of the party that has ruled Togo for four decades and son of the previous leader, had won the polls.

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