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Darfur violence undermining peace talks

KHARTOUM, Sudan, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The fresh violence in the Darfur region of Sudan is a violation of cease-fire agreements and damages any chance of peace, a U.N.-African Union official said.

Djibril Bassole, U.N.-African Union chief mediator in the Darfur peace negotiations, Thursday said the flare-up of violence between Sudanese government forces and militant rebels in northern and southern Darfur in recent weeks must be halted immediately, the United Nations reported.

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Bassole said the attacks by the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minnawi rebel groups undermine chances for peace in the war-torn region, as do Sudanese government airstrikes against the rebel groups. Officials say the recent violence destroyed an aid agency's building and has threatened 30,000 civilians in the vicinity of the clashes.

"The escalation of violence violates the spirit of the Humanitarian Cease-fire Agreement on the Conflict in Darfur of 2004 and constitutes a breach of various Security Council resolutions," Bassole said in a statement.

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