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Obasanjo To Brief Security Council On Darfur

African Union's chairman to brief Security Council on situation in Darfur, Sudan

African Union (AU) Chairman and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is slated to brief the United Nations Security Council tomorrow on the situation in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region, where thousands of people are dying every month and 1.45 million have been uprooted from their homes because of militia attacks and fighting between the Government and two rebel groups.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said today that President Obasanjo would hold an open briefing of the Council tomorrow. The AU has a monitoring force in Darfur and recently hosted peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, between Khartoum and the rebels.

Meanwhile, the senior UN envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, has returned to Khartoum after holding talks with officials in neighbouring capitals about the Darfur crisis.

In Asmara, Eritrea, Mr. Pronk met representatives of the rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He also met Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Pronk met senior officials from the AU to discuss how to rapidly expand the size of the organization's monitoring force in Darfur. He also spoke to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

Mr. Pronk's spokesperson, Radhia Achouri, said the UN envoy would travel next Wednesday to Brussels to meet senior officials from the European Union (EU), before heading to New York the following day to present Secretary-General Kofi Annan's monthly report on the Darfur crisis to the Security Council.

On 7 October Mr. Pronk has been invited to take part in the peace talks in Naivasha, Kenya, which are designed to end the separate, 21-year civil war in Sudan's south.

In Darfur, about 1.45 million people are internally displaced and another 200,000 have fled to Chad as refugees, mainly because of attacks against civilians by Janjaweed militias. The SLA and the JEM have also taken up arms against Sudanese Government forces.

Earlier this month the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported that hundreds of displaced persons were dying every month, either from Janjaweed attacks or because of the unhygienic and overcrowded conditions in their temporary camps.

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