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Sudan govt, rebels fail to agree on security
Updated: 2004-10-30 14:30

Sudanese government delegates and Darfur rebels failed to reach agreement early on Saturday on a draft security protocol aimed at breaking a deadlock at peace negotiations in Nigeria.

Both sides met with African Union mediators late into the night to try to iron out their differences, but did not hold face-to-face negotiations, despite earlier pledges to do so.

International observers at the talks hope the framework will stop violence in Darfur that has driven more than 1.5 million people from their homes.

"There is still a gap ... between the opinions of the parties," Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator for one of the two rebel movements fighting in Darfur, told reporters after the meeting.

Mediators said consultations would continue on Saturday and the talks would reconvene on Sunday.

The draft security proposal requires the government to make good on pledges to disarm its Arab and Janjaweed allies and identify any other militias it has been supporting.

The document also calls on both sides to cooperate with the AU ceasefire commission and say where their forces are located.

Rebels have voiced scepticism over the document, saying it does not mention a demand for a no-fly zone over Darfur or tell the government to pull back its forces to barracks.

"We don't think that this will guarantee security on the ground," said Abdullahi Osman, adviser to the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), before Friday night's meeting.

Sudanese government representatives at the talks say the document is weak because there is no demand for rebels to garrison their forces.

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