Title: African leaders meeting in Libya reject non-African intervention in Sudan crisis
Author: Mohamed Adam
Date: 17-05-2005, 05:36 PM
African leaders meeting in Libya reject non-African intervention in Sudan crisis
TRIPOLI, Libya (CP) - Seven African leaders meeting in the Libyan capital have rejected any intervention by non-African countries in Sudan's western Darfur region, and have authorized Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to carry on trying to get conflicting parties to reach a settlement.In a statement issued at the end of the two-day meeting Tuesday, leaders of Egypt, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, Gabon and Eritrea decided to "reject any foreign intervention in the Darfur problem, and dealing with it should be through its African framework."
The Sudanese ambassador to Canada has said her country would not allow Canadian troops into Darfur despite an assistance package from the minority Liberal government, announced last Thursday, that included up to 100 military advisers to help the African Union maintain peace in the war-ravaged region.
The Globe and Mail reported Tuesday that Ottawa would respect Sudan's wishes.
Paul Martin's Liberal government had proposed a $170-million assistance package for Darfur that included "an initial deployment of up to 100 Canadian military intelligence officers, strategic planners and logistics experts to assist the African Union peacekeeping operation in the region with military planning, intelligence and transport."
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, invited to the summit by Gadhafi, met with Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir on Monday in what the official Libyan news agency described as a step toward a "historic reconciliation." The two countries had accused each other of sheltering rebels their different territories.
The leaders called on other African countries to send more troops and police to reinforce the African Union's mission in Darfur and asked the international community to contribute by extending logistical support.
The African Union has about 2,400 troops and 244 civilian police trying to restore the peace in Darfur. On April 28 it voted to increase the force to 6,171 military personnel and 1,560 police by the end of September.
The seven African leaders said they would support reconciliation efforts between the people of Darfur, pay compensation and "try crime suspects in Darur according to the national judicial system."
Sudan's government strongly rejected a UN Security Council resolution adopted in March calling for the trial of Darfur war crimes suspects before the International Criminal Court. El-Bashir vowed last month not to allow any Sudanese national to be tried abroad.
The Darfur conflict erupted after a rebel uprising against what is seen by many in the vast western province as years of state neglect and discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. Sudan's government is accused of responding with unleashing and supporting the Janjaweed, an Arab militia that committed widescale abuses against the African population.
The United Nations estimates 180,000 people have died since violence broke out in Darfur in February 2003, mainly from war-induced hunger and disease.
© The Canadian Press, 2005
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