Archive for Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Darfur peace talks deadline extended again

May 3, 2006

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— International mediators couldn't persuade rebels from Sudan's Darfur region to sign a peace proposal before Tuesday night's deadline, but a senior U.S. diplomat said he'd continue talks today.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who flew overnight from Washington to reach the talks in Abuja on Tuesday morning, said he'd stay at least one more day, but "beyond that I don't know." Mediators have extended the deadline by 48 hours.

International envoys met all day with rebel leaders and representatives of Sudan's government, hoping to reach consensus on a deal to end a three-year war that's claimed more than 200,000 lives.

Seven previous rounds of peace negotiations during the last two years made scant headway. But worsening humanitarian conditions and increasing public pressure in the United States have contributed to a make-or-break mentality at these negotiations. Rebel leaders have said they feel that the international community is pressuring them to sign the deal.

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