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Last Updated: Saturday, 6 November, 2004, 15:56 GMT
Darfur peace talks take new turn
Members of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur, Sudan
The talks have come unstuck over no-fly zone proposals
African Union mediators are meeting separately with Sudanese government and Darfur rebel representatives as part of peace talks in Nigeria's capital Abuja.

The meetings come after the government refused to agree to a no-fly zone over Darfur, saying such an accord would hamper its ability to ensure stability.

Some 1.6 million people have fled their homes and 70,000 have been killed since the conflict began in early 2003.

A draft resolution on Darfur is currently being examined by the UN.

Anarchy warning

Peace talks between the Sudanese government and Darfur rebels stalled on Friday over the question of creating a no-fly zone over the area.

Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo had put forward a compromise, which called for a ceasefire on land and in the air.

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The rebels - who had accepted the draft agreement - want military flights to be prohibited, because they say government planes are bombing villages in Darfur.

The new UN resolution being examined by the UN Security Council is expected to be adopted when it meets in Nairobi later this month.

UN envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk has warned of anarchy in Darfur.

UN peacekeepers

The BBC's Susannah Price in New York says the new UN draft resolution looks more towards promises of help for Sudan, rather than threats of punishment.

Aside from Darfur, it backs efforts to end the war between Khartoum and the southern rebels. The two sides have signed important deals, clearing the way for a full treaty possibly by the end of the year.

The resolution says once a north-south peace deal is signed, the UN will send in a peacekeeping operation.

It also encourages UN agencies, the EU and others to provide assistance for the reconstruction of Sudan and to organise a donors' conference when there is an agreement.

The Security Council has passed two resolutions already, threatening sanctions against Sudan's government if the violence in Darfur continues. But it has had little discernible effect.

Pro-government Janjaweed militias are accused of driving the region's black Africans from their villages, since two rebel groups began an uprising in February 2003.

The US describes the attacks in Darfur as genocide.

Aid agencies in south Darfur have evacuated some areas as clashes between rebels and the government continue.




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