UN envoy warns of new Darfur danger if talks fail

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LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) Darfur faces new dangers from tribal battles and splintering rebel groups if no political process is launched to establish peace in western Sudan, the United Nations envoy to Darfur said today.

''I have seen myself the desperation, the anger, the frustration in the camps. I have seen also the beginning of tribal battles, fighting over land,'' Jan Eliasson told BBC radio.

''And all these factors lead me to the conclusion that we have to now really take advantage of the beginning of a political process.'' Eliasson said he was hopeful, despite the absence of several rebel groups from peace stalks begun in Libya last month, that most rebels would join the talks shortly and the prospects for a political solution were good.

''There is one (rebel group) who seems to refuse, but the others are discussing with us the preparations for the talks,'' Eliasson said. ''(We are) hoping that they will join the negotiations within a month or so.'' The African Union-United Nations-mediated conference in Libya is seeking an end to 4-1/2 years of violence in the western region of Sudan that has sparked US accusations -- dismissed by Khartoum -- of genocide.

Much of the killing has been blamed on a government-allied militia known as the Janjaweed.

But recently rebels have been blamed for attacks on African Union peacekeepers. In some cases, experts say, the rebel command structure has broken down to the point that the groups represent no constituency and are nothing more than bandits.

At the start of the talks, the government declared an immediate unilateral truce, but the absence of key rebels cast doubt on whether it could be implemented.

Eliasson called on Sudan Liberation Army chairman and founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur, a rebel leader supported by hundreds of thousands of Darfuris, to join the talks and allow the voices of his supporters to be heard.

The SLA leader has said he would not attend talks until a UN force had deployed and provided security, a condition that could take more than a year to finalise.

''He has important standing in the camps,'' said Eliasson. ''We hope very much that he will make it possible for the voices of the camps to be heard.'' REUTERS PD ND1615

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