Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Richardson Meets with Sudanese Rebel Leaders

Governor Richardson met with Sudanese rebel leaders yesterday, trying to broker a deal to bring peace to the Darfur region.
Trying to broker peace in war-torn Darfur, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson pushed rebel leaders on Tuesday to participate in a 60-day cease-fire and hold talks with the government.

On a one-day visit to Darfur, Richardson met with local government leaders, the commander of overwhelmed African Union forces, people who have fled their homes because of their violence and the rebel leaders.


While at AU headquarters, Richardson also had discussions with leaders of rebel groups who refused to sign a cease-fire agreement with the Sudanese government last May.

Richardson told the rebels he also asked Sudan President Omar al-Bashir to agree to a temporary cease-fire during a meeting Monday in the capital of Khartoum.

And with his considerable diplomatic skills, Governor Richardson seems poised for a breakthrough. Given his past history in Cuba, Iraq, North Korea and Sudan, this is not a surprise.

But under pressure from Richardson, Ismail agreed to meet with the government if there is prior agreement on a 60-day cease-fire. "When the government is serious we have no problem," he said.

Richardson is planning to meet al-Bashir again on Wednesday and promised the rebel leaders he would report back to them after that meeting.

As more news comes out from Sudan, we'll bring you new developments here.


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