Egypt urges conference on Darfur conflict

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CAIRO: Egypt called on Sunday for an international conference to find a political solution to the conflict in Sudan s Darfur region, state media reported.

The call comes after the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Monday called for Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir to be arrested, accusing him of masterminding a campaign of genocide in Darfur.

The conference should be held in coordination with the UN, permanent members of the Security Council and countries influential in Africa, the official MENA news agency quoted Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit as saying.

Cairo on Saturday hosted an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers to discuss the war crimes allegations, with many African and Arab countries saying any move to arrest Beshir will make peace in Darfur yet more elusive.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa traveled to Khartoum on Sunday with an Arab action plan agreed at Saturday s talks.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo last week accused Beshir of personally instructing his forces to annihilate three non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur, masterminding murder, torture, pillaging and the use of rape to commit genocide.

The United Nations says that up to 300,000 people have died and more than 2.2 million have fled their homes since the conflict erupted in February 2003. Sudan says 10,000 have been killed.

It began when African ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime and state-backed Arab militias, fighting for resources and power in one of the most remote and deprived places on earth. -AFP

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