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African Leaders Discuss Proposals for Resolving Darfur Conflict

By VOA News
29 October 2009

African leaders are meeting in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to discuss ideas for resolving the six-year-long conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.

The leaders of the African Union Peace and Security Council are considering proposals drawn up by a high-level AU panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

The panel recommends the establishment of a special court of Sudanese and foreign judges to try those suspected of atrocities in Darfur.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir did not attend the meeting of the 15-member council, despite a formal invitation from Nigeria. Sudan instead sent Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha.

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir in March for suspected war crimes in Darfur. Rights groups had urged Nigeria to detain President Bashir if he turned up for Thursday's meeting.

Meanwhile, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki is expected to press the AU Peace and Security Council to also focus attention on tensions between northern and southern Sudan.

The semi-autonomous south has accused Sudan's northern-based central government of blocking implementation of a 2005 peace deal that ended a two-decade civil war.

Sudan is due to hold national elections next year and a referendum on southern independence in 2011.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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