Monday, May 15, 2006

Darfur rebel resists pressure to join peace deal

By Estelle ShirbonReutersSunday, May 14, 2006; 6:19 PM

ABUJA (Reuters) - Efforts to persuade a rebel leader from Sudan's Darfur region to join a peace deal were likely to continue beyond Monday's deadline because his refusal to sign poses a serious threat to the accord, diplomats said.
Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rejected the peace settlement signed on May 5 by the Sudanese government and rival SLA factional leader Minni Arcua Minnawi to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands.
News of the accord sparked violence in Darfur, where many feel it lacks legitimacy because only one rebel faction signed.
"With the situation on the ground, it's just not an option to leave Abdel Wahed out," a diplomat, among many who have been struggling since May 5 to gain Nur's acceptance, said on Sunday.
The last six months of the Abuja peace talks took place in a no-frills hotel, but Nur had to relocate on Thursday to a dingy hostel in a sign the African Union was tightening the pressure on him.
Refugees have rioted against the agreement in several Darfur camps and students from the region have protested in the capital Khartoum. The violence has killed at least two people and heightened fears the war would continue despite the accord.

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