Sudan Ready to Declare Cease-Fire
Sudan is on the verge of yet another cease-fire.
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir said Friday his government is ready to implement a cease-fire with rebel forces at the start of peace talks over the conflict in Darfur, scheduled for next month in Libya. It was the first time al-Bashir — in Italy to meet with the Pope and Italy’s leaders — had called for a cease-fire since the announcement last week that U.N.-backed peace talks will take place in Tripoli, Libya, beginning Oct. 27. A top rebel leader has demanded that hostilities end before negotiations can begin. “We have announced we are willing (to put in place) a cease-fire with the start of the negotiations to create a positive climate,” al-Bashir said at a news conference following talks with Italian Premier Romano Prodi. “We hope that the negotiations in Tripoli will be the last ones and that they will bring a final peace,” al-Bashir said.
Khartoum has regularly agreed to cease-fires but all have been quickly breached by the parties involved in the conflict.
More than 200,000 people have died and 2.5 million have been uprooted since ethnic African rebels in Darfur took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in 2003. Sudan’s government is accused of retaliating by unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the janjaweed, a charge Khartoum denies.
We’ve been down this road too many times to get our hopes up too high.