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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
August 26, 2004

President Welcomes Political Talks to Bring Lasting Solution to Darfur

President Bush welcomes the African Union's efforts to bring a lasting solution to the Darfur conflict by sponsoring political talks between the Government of Sudan and the Darfur rebels in Abuja, Nigeria. The Abuja talks began on August 23, and we understand that the parties to the conflict are participating at senior levels without preconditions. We strongly urge the participants to build on the cease-fire agreement to create a just resolution to the conflict that will ultimately allow the displaced to return to their homes safely and with dignity.

The President commends the African Union's deployment of cease-fire monitors and a protection force to Darfur. We welcome the deployment of 155 Rwandan troops to El-Fasher, Darfur and the commitment to deploy approximately 150 Nigerian troops by August 30. We hope this will help improve security and create conditions in which humanitarian assistance can be more effectively provided to the Sudanese people.

As the United States has said before, the Government of Sudan must halt all Jinjaweed violence and hold accountable those responsible for human rights violations. All parties, including the Darfur rebels, must respect the cease-fire and allow the free movement of humanitarian workers and supplies.

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