Sudan Agrees to Appoint Vice President from Darfur

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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Sudan has agreed to appoint a vice president from its embattled Darfur region, in what appears to be a concession to the demand of some rebel groups that call for greater governmental representation.

Sudanese state media reported Tuesday that the new vice president from Darfur will serve for the remaining four years of the current electoral session.

However, some key rebel organizations have dismissed the announcement as symbolic, saying the government has not done enough to ensure the equality of all Sudanese.

Rebels in Darfur took up arms against the government in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting their region. The United Nations says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict. Sudan's government puts the death toll at 10,000.

The two sides are now in the midst of slowly progressing peace talks in Qatar.

North and south Sudan fought a separate 21-year war that ended in 2005. South Sudan voted to separate from the north in a January referendum. The south will secede on July 9.

Earlier this month Human Rights Watch said abuses in Sudan's Darfur region have increased in the last six months while the world's attention was largely focused on south Sudan's upcoming independence.

The rights group says a government-led campaign has killed scores of civilians, destroyed property and displaced more than 70,000 people — mostly from the ethnic Zaghawa and Fur communities linked to rebel groups.