Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir (Photo: Reuters)
Sudanese government delegates have arrived in Ethiopia for African Union-mediated peace talks with rebels aimed at stopping civil war, AU officials said Tuesday.
Rebel factions from the war-torn western Darfur region as well as the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), fighting the government in the southern Blue Nile and South Kordofan states since 2011, are due to attend.
The rebels are all part of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) coalition.
Formal talks are expected to begin later this week in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, with mediators aiming for both sides to declare a ceasefire, including to allow aid in for civilians in rebel areas.
SPLM-N spokesman Arnu Lodi told AFP that rebel delegates "will be heading to Addis", adding they are "willing to achieve a cessation of hostility" for humanitarian purposes.
"We hope they will sign an agreement at the end of the meeting," said AU official Boitshoko Mokgatlhe, without giving a timeframe for how long they will last.
Darfur has been mired in conflict since 2003, when insurgents rebelled against President Omar al-Bashir's Arab-dominated regime, complaining of marginalisation.
Some 300,000 people have been killed in Darfur and nearly 2.5 million displaced, the UN says, while the International Criminal Court has indicted Bashir for alleged war crimes committed during the conflict.
Previous rounds of talks have done little to stem the conflict.