by MONITOR
LAST weekend talks in Nigeria that have lasted for two years seemed finally to have achieved a peace settlement between the various factions involved in the Darfur area of Sudan where conflict has displaced more than two million people and led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands. However, yesterday came news that, with the ink hardly dry on the signatures on the settlement, violence had again broken out, this time when a group of demonstrators had appealed for protection from the African Union peacekeeping force. In the confusion an African Union interpreter was killed and the UN's top humanitarian official, Jan Egeland, had to make a quick exit from the refugee camp. The effectiveness of the agreement reached at the talks held in Nigeria will ultimately depend on the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force to replace the existing inadequate African Union presence. The eventual acceptance by an initially reluctant Sudanese government of a UN presence on its territory was in itself a triumph for the Western negotiators, notably Robert Zoellick of the US State Department and Britain's Hilary Benn, the international development minister.