East Sudan rebels postpone talks with Khartoum
Tue 7 Feb 2006 6:26 AM ET
By Ed Harris© Reuters 2006. All
ASMARA, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Sudan's eastern rebels
said on Tuesday they were postponing indefinitely talks with the
government aimed at ending conflict in a region that contains the
country's port, main oil pipeline and largest gold mine.
initially supposed to start in Libya in December but were postponed and
now the Eastern Front rebels said they would not take place, accusing
Khartoum of preparing for a fresh conflict and denying rebel
"The Eastern Front declares the postponement of the
expected talks in Tripoli to an unspecified date," said a statement issued
to journalists in the capital of neighbouring Eritrea, where most of the
movement's leadership is based.
The statement accused Khartoum of a
"military redeployment during the past few days ... (in) preparation for
an assault on camps of the Eastern Front when the leaders and cadres are
meant to be in Tripoli negotiating with the government."
groups fighting in the western region of Darfur, eastern rebels complain
of neglect and marginalisation by the central government in
East Sudan contains Port Sudan, the head of the main
pipeline for the country's oil exports, as well as mineral wealth and
offshore natural gas reserves.
The postponement will allow the
Eastern Front to make the necessary arrangements "to confront the National
Congress machinations designed to destroy the cause of the Eastern Front,"
it added, referring to the government in Khartoum.
Front includes both eastern rebel groups and the main political parties in
an area impoverished despite its relative economic
Rebels took up arms in the 1990s and control the small
Hamesh Koreb area. In January, government-allied forces entered Hamesh
Koreb and clashed with rebels in an area that borders Eritrea.
Hamesh Koreb) the government tried to transform the conflict to one
between citizens of the same region," the statement said.
often armed local tribes as proxy forces to fight regional conflicts
because of the toll a long southern civil war took on its regular armed
forces. The southern war ended last year with a peace deal but conflict
continues in Darfur.