International brief ~ New Darfur peace talks begin

The African Union-hosted peace talks on the humanitarian crisis in Darfur began Monday in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja. This is the second round of talks hosted by the AU; the first round ended in September with no agreement being reached concerning the crisis. The talks were slated to begin last Thursday, but delays in the travel arrangements of delegates caused the talks to be pushed back. Negotiators include the offical government representative of the Sudan, as well as representatives from the major rebel groups currently engaged in combat in the Darfur region. Each side has accused the other of breaking a cease-fire agreement reached in April of 2004. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the legal issues in the Darfur crisis. The Sudan Tribune has more.... European Union ministers announced Monday that they have reached a common agreement on an asylum policy for the EU. The regional organization had been struggling with different opinions on the way to best address the influx of refugees and illegal immigrants to the relatively safe EU states. The dispute was highlighted by the actions taken by Italy recently in shipping thousands of refugees off of the island of Lampedusa and back to Libya in North Africa (JURIST's Paper Chase has background). The approved plan, known as the Hague Programme, is slated for formal adoption at an EU summit in November; it sets common guidelines for admission and deportation policies, and creates an equal distribution framework for refugees granted admittance to the EU. The proposals of the plan are subject to a majority vote, meaning no single member may veto the provision. BBC News has more.... The International Atomic Energy Agency has announced that it will present evidence to the UN Security Council Monday of nearly 380 tons of high yield explosives that went missing from an IAEA secured site near Baghdad. The explosives can be used for high yield conventional bombs, or for triggering the implosion needed to create a nuclear bomb. The IAEA claims that it has been unable to monitor the explosives, stored at the al-Qaqaa complex near Baghdad, due to the security restrictions put in place by the US military. JURIST's Paper Chase has background in IAEA concerns. CNN has more.... Iran announced Sunday that it has rejected a plan presented by Britain, Germany, and France to supply Iran with the nuclear fuel necessary to run nuclear power plants in order to avoid Iran developing the capability of producing its own nuclear fuel. The IAEA and the European Union have expressed concern that Iran's nuclear fuel program might be used to create material that could be used in creating a nuclear weapon. Iran has protested the intrusion into its internal affairs, saying that it has an 'international right to develop a domestic source of nuclear fuel.' In a meeting with Iran's Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, South African Ambassador to Iran Yusuf Saloojee said that the IAEA should close its case file on Iran 'and thus solve the problem.' The Tehran Times has more on the meeting. The Guardian has more on Iran's official statement.

 

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