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Obasanjo, Sudanese rebels meet late Sunday

6/20/2005 12:05pm

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 20, 2005 (PANA) -- A meeting between Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sudanese rebels aimed at jumpstarting the tottering Darfur talks in Abuja has been rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday night, sources at the talks told PANA on Sunday.
Details of their discussions were not disclosed, but sources said the meeting was part of Obasanjo's efforts to help pump life into the talks, which has been held up by the failure of the parties to agree on the work plan and the decision by one of the rebel groups to boycott the talks if Chad is allowed to participate.

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) had declined to continue with the talks due to Tuesday's arrival in Abuja of the Chadian delegation.

JEM opposes the participation of Chad at the talks, alleging that the country had taken sides in the two- year crisis that has killed between 180,000 and 200,000 and displaced over two million in Darfur.

Confirming the movement's stand on Sunday, JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam told PANA that the position of his group is non-negotiable.

Adam accused Chad of trying to frustrate the talks so it could be moved from Abuja to N'Djamena.

The accusation could not be independently corroborated, as the two-member Chadian delegation was not immediately available.

The talks resumed last Monday after a six-month break due to the failure of the parties -- the Sudanese government, Sudan's Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and JEM -- to agree on the agenda.

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