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Possibility Of Peace In Darfur

There are now hopes of ending the fighting in the Darfur region of western Sudan. A Declaration of Principles has been signed by the government of Sudan and two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement, and the Justice Equality Movement. The agreement provides a framework for further negotiations. It calls for the guarantee of traditional tribal ownership of land in Darfur and for increased autonomy. The accord also calls for an end to hostilities and the return of those displaced from their homes.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the U.S. "congratulates the parties on their signing of the declaration of principles for the resolution of the Sudanese conflict in Darfur." He said the U.S. also commends "the African Union for the pivotal role it played in successfully mediating the talks."

Fighting broke out in Darfur in 2003. Complaining that the region had been marginalized by the central government, the rebel groups attacked government facilities. Arab Janjaweed militia supported by the Sudanese government responded by attacking civilians. Since then, as many as one-hundred-eighty-thousand people have died in Darfur from fighting, malnutrition, and disease. More than two-million were made homeless.

State Department spokesman McCormack says that the accord between the Sudanese government and the rebel groups in Darfur could be a first step toward peace:

"What is important, now that they have this framework, this declaration of principles, is that they actually start filling in the details of this. We urge the parties to abide by the principles which they have signed, and keep up the momentum."

The agreement "should serve as the basis for further good-faith political dialogue between the parties," says Mr. McCormack. He says "the current conflict in Darfur can only be resolved through peaceful means."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.