Qatar hopeful for Darfur peace

2009-11-23 11:27

Doha - Qatar, which hosts talks between the government of Sudan and rebels from its western Darfur region, has expressed hope that a peace deal can be reached soon between the warring sides, media reports said Sunday.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdullah al- Mahmoud was quoted by Qatar's news agency as saying a recent round of talks with non-governmental groups helped create a roadmap for a process leading to a negotiated settlement.

"What we heard from them about peace, makes us optimistic about the future," he said, adding that if the government and rebels tried, a deal was possible next year.

Qatar has taken a leading role in negotiations, along with the African Union and the United Nations.

Over 300 000 people have been killed and around 2 million displaced in fighting in Darfur since 2003, according to the UN.