May 5, 2006

Biggest Darfur rebel faction to sign peace deal: AU

ABUJA (Reuters) - The leader of the largest faction of
Darfur rebels agreed on Friday to sign a peace deal with the
government despite reservations, African Union mediators said.

"It's done. Minni is going to sign. He has accepted with
some reservations ... but he is going to sign," said Noureddine
Mezni, a spokesman for the AU of Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)
leader Minni Arcua Minnawi.

In a transcript of Friday morning's talks provided to
Reuters by the AU, Minnawi is quoted as saying: "I accept the
document with some reservations concerning the power sharing."

Three Darfur rebel factions have been meeting in the
Nigerian capital Abuja with AU and international mediators to
try to reach a peace agreement after two years of stop-start
negotiations to end three years of bitter conflict.

The main rebel group, the SLA, is split into two factions
but observers say Minnawi has more support among SLA fighters
than his counterpart Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur.

Nur's SLA faction and the third rebel faction, Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM), have rejected the peace settlement
drafted by AU and Western diplomats.