UN chief promises renewed push for negotiations in visit to Darfur

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised to step up efforts to end the four-year-old conflict on his first visit to Darfur Wednesday and urged the world to be more sympathetic to the millions of people whose lives have been uprooted. He said the deployment of a 26,000-strong African Union-UN peacekeeping force in Darfur was now on a "good track" and "it is crucially important that a political negotiation process start now." UN and AU envoys have been trying to get eight key rebel groups back to the negotiating table with the Sudanese government and Ban said "we are coming close to agreeing on the venue and date."