Envoys express optimism for restarting Darfur peace talks

The UN and African envoys to Sudan expressed optimism over efforts to reconvene long delayed peace talks to end the conflict in the war torn region of Darfur. UN envoy to Sudan Jan Eliasson and his African Union counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim briefed reporters on the results of their meetings with rebel groups and government officials and said prospects were good for restarting peace talks. Salim justified his "optimism with no exaggeration" by the results of meetings with the leaders Darfur rebel groups, that have now merged into five distinct groups after years of fragmentation, as well as with Sudanese Foreign Minister Deng Alor and presidential advisor Nafie Ali Nafie. He said all the people they met with expressed their commitment to a peaceful solution to the Darfur conflict, which has raged since 2003 and cost 200,000 lives and displaced 2.5 million people, according to the UN.