Khartoum ready to accept federal solution

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The Independent Online

The Sudanese government may grant more independence to Darfur to end the conflict. Sudanese ministers told an African summit hosted by Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi that giving more autonomy to Darfur may be the best way of bringing peace.

The Sudanese government may grant more independence to Darfur to end the conflict. Sudanese ministers told an African summit hosted by Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi that giving more autonomy to Darfur may be the best way of bringing peace.

The Foreign Minister, Mustafa Osman Ismael, said the proposed system would give people in Darfur "the right to elect their own governor and parliament and take care of their internal affairs".

Ruud Lubbers, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, proposed the move last month, saying: "There has to be some clear partition of power in Darfur." Neighbouring countries believe some sort of federalism is the only way to stop Africa's biggest country from falling apart. The presidents of Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and Chad met in Tripoli over the weekend to find an African solution. After overnight meetings the leaders said they wanted to prove that Africa could solve its own problems, and they did not want the UN or any Western powers to impose sanctions or other penalties on Sudan.

But they also insisted the Sudanese government was still obliged to comply with UN resolutions which demand they disarm all militia and restore peace.A spokesman for the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, said: "What is important is to make Sudan comply with its international commitments. Threats of sanctions will not solve the problem."

A Sudanese rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), sent representatives to Tripoli but were not permitted to participate. A spokesman for JEM said: "We don't want Darfur to separate from Sudan; we just want equal rights for people in all parts of the country."

The Sudanese government has agreed to have 4,800 African Union monitors in Darfur but logistical problems will delay deployment of 4,500 of them until the end of November.

Sudan and the rebels are to restart peace talks this week.

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