Sudan president ready to accept UN Darfur package

Sudan's president said he accepts a UN package to help end escalating violence in Darfur and is ready for urgent discussions on a ceasefire, according to a letter circulated Tuesday. President Omar al-Bashir said in the letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan that Sudan is ready "to start immediately" to implement two recent agreements that endorsed the three-step UN plan to beef up the beleaguered 7,000-strong African Union force on the ground in the vast conflict-wracked western region. Council diplomats said the letter sounded promising, but cautioned that al-Bashir remains opposed to any large-scale UN deployment and has back-tracked on agreements regarding Darfur in the past.