The African Union on Thursday urged Darfur's disparate rebel factions to attend an upcoming meeting in Tanzania to find a common position and prepare for peace talks with Sudan's government.
"The meeting will enable all the groups involved in the Darfur crisis to draw up a common position and chart the way forward," the AU's special envoy for Darfur, Salim Ahmed Salim, told reporters in Dar Es Salaam.
Key mediators and rebel groups are due to meet in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha for three days starting on August 3 to pave the way for widened peace talks with the Sudanese government.
"It is difficult to enter into negotiations with the government in a situation where there are 12 groups and each pressing for its own interests," Salim said.
A peace agreement was signed in May 2006 with the Sudanese government but only one of three negotiating rebel factions endorsed it. Violence then surged and rebel splinters flourished.
Five factions have already joined forces, forming the United Front for Liberation and Development (UFLD) earlier this month in the Eritrean capital Asmara.
The UFLD urged other factions to join their alliance and lashed out at "grandstanding" rebel leaders pursuing individual interests.
Salim said that factions demanding a compensation scheme for the victims of the Darfur conflict should come to Arusha to negotiate.
On Wednesday, the African Union and United Nations said most non-signatory rebel movements had agreed to attend the conference.
Last Mod: 26 Temmuz 2007, 19:32