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Sudan, Russia propose Moscow conference on Darfur

KHARTOUM, January 29 (RIA Novosti) - Sudan's parliament speaker, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher, and Russian presidential envoy for Sudan Mikhail Margelov proposed on Thursday holding an international conference on Darfur in Moscow in September.

President Omar Hassan al-Bashir backed the initiative, saying that resolving the conflict in western Sudan would require the efforts of the entire international community.

According to the UN, more than 300,000 people have been killed and around 2.7 million displaced in the ongoing conflict in Darfur.

The UN Mission in Sudan was established in 2005 to monitor the peace agreement between the government in Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in southern Sudan, which ended the longest-running civil war in Africa.

The UN presence in Sudan has since been expanded through the United Nations and African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to include peacekeeping operations in Darfur. Since 2003, Chad and Sudan have accused each other of inciting conflict on their common border, which is along the west Sudanese region of Darfur.

Russia has had a contingent of four Mi-8 helicopters and 120 personnel assisting UN operations in Sudan since April 2006. They are expected to stay - with regular rotations - for five or six years.

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