Darfur summit rejects non-African intervention

Leaders authorize Gadhafi to settle Sudanese fighting

Tuesday, May 17, 2005 Posted: 9:23 AM EDT (1323 GMT)

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) -- Seven African leaders meeting in the Libyan
capital rejected Tuesday any intervention by a non-African nation in
Sudan's western Darfur region, and authorized Libyan leader Moammar
Gadhafi to carry on trying to get conflicting parties to reach a

In a statement issued at the end of the two-day meeting, leaders of
Egypt, Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Sudan, Gabon and Eritrea decided to
"reject any foreign intervention in the Darfur problem and dealing
with it should be through its African framework."

The summit on Darfur was originally due to be held in Egypt but the
venue was moved to Tripoli, where Gadhafi hosted Darfur rebel and
local leaders last week.

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki, invited to the summit by Gadhafi,
met with Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir on Monday in what the
official Libyan news agency described as a step toward a "historic
reconciliation." The two countries had accused each other of
sheltering rebels their different territories.

The leaders called on other African nations to send more troops and
police to reinforce the African Union's mission in Darfur and asked
the international community to contribute by extending logistical

The African Union has about 2,400 troops and 244 civilian police
trying to restore the peace in Darfur. On April 28 it voted to
increase the force to 6,171 military personnel and 1,560 police by
the end of September.

The seven African leaders said they would support reconciliation
efforts between the people of Darfur, pay compensation and "try crime
suspects in Darfur according to the national judicial system."

Sudan's government strongly rejected a U.N. Security Council
resolution adopted in March calling for the trial of Darfur war
crimes suspects before the International Criminal Court. El-Bashir
vowed last month not to allow any Sudanese national to be tried

In their closing statement the leaders called on the warring parties
to resume peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria before the end of this month
and asked the African countries involved in the Tripoli summit to
send high ranking delegates to the talks to help.

The Darfur conflict erupted after a rebel uprising against what is
seen by many in the vast western province as years of state neglect
and discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. Sudan's
government is accused of responding with unleashing and supporting
the Janjaweed, an Arab militia that committed wide-scale abuses
against the African population.

The United Nations estimates 180,000 people have died since violence
broke out in Darfur in February 2003, mainly from war-induced hunger
and disease.