Veteran U.N. envoy: Darfur's the worst

Sept. 20, 2007 at 11:03 AM

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The United Nations' veteran peace negotiator for the embattled Darfur region of Sudan says it's the thorniest conflict he's dealt with in his 25-year career.

Jan Eliasson has spent the past few months touring Darfur with his African Union counterpart, Salim Ahmed Salim, talking with tribal leaders and militia commanders. He was accompanied recently by a Los Angeles Times correspondent.

Since 2003, an estimated 200,000 people have died in fighting the Khartoum government has alternately sponsored and retaliated against.

Eliasson equated his mission to "herding cats" and said Darfur was "one of the most difficult problems I have ever faced," The Times reported.

Friday in New York, foreign ministers from 26 countries plan to review Eliasson's reports and set the agenda for peace talks scheduled to begin Oct. 27 in Tripoli, Libya. The talks will include measures to pressure the Sudanese government into ending the conflict, the report said.

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