Sudan's prime minister has met a senior Darfur rebel leader living in France, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday, hailing an "essential step" for peace in the troubled east African nation.
"We facilitated talks that Prime Minister (Abdalla) Hamdok had yesterday with Abdel Wahid Nour, who is in our country," Macron said at a press conference with Hamdok after talks in Paris.
"I think the step taken yesterday is an essential step," he added. "The Sudanese deserve to finally live in peace and security."
Hamdok said that his meeting with Nour, which he had expected to last 30 minutes, went on for nearly three hours and involved "very profound exchanges".
"We discussed the roots of the Sudanese crisis and possibilities for a solution and... we are going to lay the first stones for this edifice of peace," he said.
Darfur fell into widespread conflict in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated government of Omar al-Bashir, who was toppled in April this year.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the years-long conflict in Darfur and more than two million displaced, according to the United Nations.