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Mixed U.N. reviews on Darfur

DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Sudanese talks with rebel groups made progress during talks in Qatar, though peacekeepers remain concerned about conflict in Darfur.

Atul Khare, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for the department of peacekeeping operations, said peace talks between the Sudanese government and rebel forces made some progress.

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The government and members of the Liberation and Justice Movement agreed to broad terms of power-sharing, reconciliation and resettlement of refugees. Khare warned, however, there was a long way to go toward peace.

Fighting between government-backed forces and Sudanese rebels forced more than 43,000 people to leave their homes recently, said Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. special envoy to the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping missing in Darfur.

"(Peacekeeping) forces have maintained a robust presence and have increased patrolling in the villages affected by the recent fighting so as to create a security environment that would allow for the early, safe return of the recently displaced people," he added in his statements to the U.N. Security Council.

He said peacekeepers had better access to some parts of Darfur as the security situation relaxed somewhat.

"However, I also have to report that in other instances we have not yet been fully successful," he added.

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International human rights groups expressed concern that a vote for an independent South Sudan was overshadowing problems in Darfur.

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