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Eritrea joins six other African nations in summit on Darfur in Libya

5/16/2005 9:46am

TRIPOLI, Libya, May 16, 2005 (AP) -- Eritrean President Isaias Aferwerki has arrived in the Libyan capital and will attend a six-nation African summit scheduled to open in Tripoli later on Monday to discuss the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region.

Aferwerki was in Tripoli at the invitation of Libyan Leader Moamar Gadhafi. The Eritrean leader will join Gadhafi and the of Egypt, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan and Gabon in the summit.

The Darfur summit was originally due to be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, but the venue was moved to Tripoli, where Darfur rebel and local leaders met last week with Gadhafi.

The U.N. Security Council adopted two resolutions in March on Darfur. Sudan's government rejected both of them. One of the two provides for the trial of Darfur war crimes suspects before the International Criminal Court. The second one strengthens an arms embargo and imposes an asset freeze and travel ban on those who defy peace efforts.

The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 after a rebel uprising against what's 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 wide-scale abuses against the African population.

"Nobody accepts the current situation in Darfur which should be under control. We have to stop the fighting and push peace talks forward to achieve a political settlement," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told reporters in Cairo Sunday night.

Gadhafi has been trying in recent years to present his North African nation as a mediator in African conflicts. On Wednesday, two main rebel groups in Darfur signed a declaration in Tripoli pledging to adhere to a cease-fire and help facilitate the flow of humanitarian relief aid.

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