Sudan

Factbox - Key facts about Darfur, Sudan

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April 26 (Reuters) - Key players in the crisis over western Sudan's Darfur region will meet in Libya this weekend as the threat of international sanctions hangs over the Khartoum government.

The United States and Britain are demanding Sudan accept a strong U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur, where four years of conflict have killed at least 200,000 people and displaced some 2.5 million.

Here are some facts about the conflict in the Darfur region.

* THE CONFLICT:

- Rebels in Sudan's western region of Darfur rose up against the government in February 2003, saying Khartoum discriminated against non-Arab farmers there.

- Khartoum mobilised proxy Arab militia to help quell the revolt. Some militiamen, known locally as Janjaweed, pillaged and burned villages, and killed civilians. The government has called the Janjaweed outlaws and denied supporting them.

- Experts have estimated that at least 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million driven from their homes in the region since early 2003, some crossing the border into Chad exacerbating a refugee crisis there.

- The United Nations calls Darfur one of the world's worst humanitarian crises. The United States says the violence in Darfur amounts to genocide.

* CEASEFIRES:

- A ceasefire was agreed in Darfur in April 2004 and the African Union eventually sent around 7,000 peacekeepers with a mandate to monitor the peace and protect those displaced in the camps. The ceasefire has been violated frequently, with fighting blamed on government troops, rebels and Janjaweed militias.

- A peace deal in May 2006 was signed by only one of three rebel negotiating factions. The agreement was almost immediately rejected by many people in Darfur who said it did not go far enough in ensuring their security. A new rebel coalition has since formed and renewed hostilities with the government.

* PEACEKEEPING FORCE FOR DARFUR:

- In August 2006, the U.N Security Council adopted a resolution on deploying a "hybrid" U.N.-AU force of 22,500 in Darfur to replace and absorb the present African Union force, which has been unable to stem the violence.

- It invited the consent of Sudan, which has so far refused.

- However Sudan has agreed to allow an operation involving technical U.N. support personnel, to deploy to Darfur. The "heavy support package" includes some 3,500 U.N. military and police personnel.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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