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Egypt to host regional summit on Darfur in mid-May

5/7/2005 5:59am

CAIRO, May 6 (AFP) -- Egypt is to hold a regional summit on the crisis in Sudan's troubled Darfur region as part of an effort to help Khartoum comply with UN resolutions on the conflict, an Egyptian daily reported.

The two-day summit, expected to bring together the leaders of Egypt, Chad, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan will open on May 15 at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, said Egypt's official Al-Ahram newspaper.

"The summit will discuss the implications of UN Security Council resolution 1593 on Darfur and the trial of those responsible for committing crimes in the region at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague," the paper said.

Egypt had initially planned to convene the Darfur summit on April 20, but it was postponed for logistical reasons, according to the Egyptian government.

Darfur rebel groups had already rejected the idea of the summit, charging that its only purpose was to offer support to the Sudanese government.

The Security Council approved a resolution in late March demanding prosecution before the Hague-based court of 51 suspects accused of human rights violations in Darfur.

The inquiry found that Sudanese government forces and militias had committed abuses including murder, torture, rape and pillage in the suppression of the two-year-old ethnic minority uprising in Darfur.

The scorched earth campaign waged by the government against the rebels has left more than 300,000 dead and 2.4 million people displaced, according to a report by a British parliamentary committee.

Sudan has vowed not to hand over the suspects, saying its judiciary was competent enough to handle the cases.

It said it would do so in accordance with a provision of the ICC convention, which states that the court will prosecute suspects only after individual countries fail to administer proper justice to the accused.

A similar five-way meeting over Darfur -- also without the presence of rebel movements -- was held in Libya last October but failed to yield any significant results.

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