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US's Zoellick, Sudan foreign minister discuss Darfur situation

6/24/2005 1:35am

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2005 (AP) -- The State Department's second-ranking official met Thursday with Sudan's top diplomat and urged him to take steps to halt the violence in Darfur and to permit the unfettered deployment of African Union troops in the region.
Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail at the State Department. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to meet with Ismail Friday.

Only rarely have foreign ministers from countries on the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism been received at the department.

Zoellick told Ismail he plans to attend the July 9 inauguration of the country's National Unity government. The new government is called for in the Jan. 9 peace agreement between Khartoum and the main southern Sudanese rebel group.

Zoellick also discussed with Ismail the importance of protecting people living at camps for displaced persons in the vicinity of Khartoum, deputy State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.

They also talked about the need for reconciliation between peoples of southern Sudan and about violence in eastern Sudan, Ereli said.

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