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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Darfur Talks Hit Snag Over Garrisoning

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Sudanese peace talks over the fate of Darfur faced the prospect of collapse on Wednesday because of a dispute over the garrisoning of rebel forces in the war-torn region.

Talks resumed for a third day, but observers said there could be no deal to end 18 months of fighting unless the rebels agreed to discuss garrisoning their fighters as part of an agreement that would also disarm the pro-government militia, called janjaweed.

The rebels accuse the Sudanese government of arming the Arab militias to loot and burn non-Arab farming communities, an accusation Sudan denies.

The United Nations says the fighting has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with more than a million people driven from their homes and up to 50,000 people killed.

"It is not acceptable to put cantonment [garrisoning] on the agenda, so we should now take this off the agenda," said Haroun Abdulhameed, foreign commissioner of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement, as he entered talks.

However, he said the movement would not walk out of the talks, as it did in July when the African Union last tried to get the two opposing sides talking.

On Tuesday, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said all sides had agreed to put garrisoning the rebels on the agenda as a precursor to disarmament, only to be contradicted by leaders of both main rebel groups.

A senior observer at the talks said: "It is clear that no deal can happen if there is no agreement on cantonment."