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Report calls for third-party mediator

BRUSSELS, May 1 (UPI) -- A third-party mediator in Nigeria is needed to help the country avoid a slide into violence, a report from the International Crisis Group says.

The Belgium-based non-governmental organization released a report saying Nigeria is at a critical moment where if an effective strategy for ending armed conflict is developed, leaders in the country could prevent widespread instability, the Crisis Group reported.

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The report, titled "Nigeria: Seizing the Moment in the Niger Delta," calls on Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua to respond to the sensitivity of the current security climate and accept a third-party mediator to help navigate a path forward or risk spreading instability across the Gulf of Guinea.

"The government needs to respond urgently and positively, especially by accepting a third-party mediator, preferably the United Nations or the Coventry Cathedral center, to facilitate negotiations with militants and implement amnesty within a program for demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration," Nnamdi Obasi, Crisis Group West Africa senior analyst, said in a statement.

"With the regional leaders and the militants, it should work to arrest the public's growing distrust, end armed violence and set the stage for sustained, longer-term development."

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