Egypt Arab countries have launched a new effort to push Sudan toward a compromise over U.N. peacekeepers for Darfur, offering to dispatch a force of Arab and Muslim troops to the troubled region, diplomats said Sunday.
The Arab League diplomats said Sudan's president rejected the initial proposal - as he has all suggestions of a U.N.-affiliated contingent, regardless of the makeup - but promised to suggest an alternative soon, in a sign that the Arab effort might show more promise than Western attempts to stop the humanitarian crisis.
"The situation is deteriorating and needs intervention," said Hesham Youssef, a top aide to the league's secretary-general, Amr Moussa.
The new push could be a significant step in the stalled effort to reach a compromise over Sudan's rejection of an August Security Council resolution that would let the United Nations to take control of and significantly expand a peacekeeping force in the western Darfur region, run so far by the African Union.
The two sides are still far apart, however. And it was unclear how much leverage the Arab countries - close neighbors and supporters of Sudan's Arab-dominated regime - have or how strongly they intended to press.