Sudan wants Darfur power share

Sudan’s government recently admitted that the best solution to the bitter conflict in Darfur may be to allow the region to run its own internal affairs. The Sudanese government’s idea was revealed at a summit hosted by Libya’s, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and attended by leaders from Nigeria, Egypt and Chad. The talks were held late at night, after the leaders had broken their daily fast for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Journalists were not permitted entry to the meeting.

Sudan is facing worldwide pressure to disarm the pro-government militias that have terrorised Darfur’s population over the last year. However, delegates are saying that sanctions against Sudan will not solve the current crisis. According to the United Nations, more than 70,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, many through starvation or disease.

The fighting began more than a year ago when rebel groups began attacking government targets, complaining that the region was being neglected by the central government and that the authorities were oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs.

At the summit, a Sudanese government delegate said that the leaders had agreed that a federal Sudan might offer the best hope for a solution – this way, the Darfur region would have its own governor and parliament. The summit also gave its backing to peace talks between Khartoum and rebels based in Darfur, which were due to resume on October 21.

More than a million people have fled their homes since the conflict originally started, and the summit in Tripoli closed with an emphasis on getting aid to these refugees.

The African Union hopes to have a 4,500-strong force in place by the end of November, but a lack of funds has delayed the deployment of troops – only about 300 unarmed Nigerian and Rwandan troops are currently in place. Repeated UN Security Council resolutions have called on the Sudanese government to stop the violence so that humanitarian aid can reach those who need it.