ABUJA, Nigeria — Talks aimed at pacifying Sudan's violence-torn Darfur region are deadlocked, a top African Union commander said Monday, appealing to the Sudanese government and rebels to compromise.
The two-week talks in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, have failed to move past the crucial question of disarming. Rebels say they will lay down their guns only after Sudan's pro-government militias, known as the janjaweed, do so.
"It appears deadlocked, as the two sides are holding to their hard-line positions," said Brig. Gen. Festus Okwonko, a mediator and commander of the African Union's cease-fire monitoring troops in Darfur.
Negotiations are aimed at ending a 19-month conflict in Darfur that has killed tens of thousands of people and driven more than 1 million civilians from their homes. The Arabic-speaking janjaweed are accused of carrying out atrocities in attacks on Sudanese villages.