The African Union-United Nations meeting on Sudan's Darfur issue due to start on Friday morning has been delayed again due to late arrivals of participants from the rebel movements, after a postponement of seven hours.
One source from within the African Union (AU) Mission in Sudan suggested the meeting, originally expected to start at 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT) might start as late as 20:00 local time (17:00 GMT).
It is important that every element should be present at the Arusha meeting in that what is at stake is the future of the people living in Darfur, said AU Special Envoy on Darfur Salim Ahmed Salim.
Some members representing the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), which is the only rebel movement to have signed on the Darfur Peace Agreement which was forged in May 2006, arrived midday on Friday for the meeting.
Gamali Galaleiddine said that his group hoped that the three- day AU-UN meeting would open the way for formal negotiations on the Darfur issue.
The rebel representatives are expected to reach a unified platform during the three-day meeting before they go to negotiate with the Sudanese government to resolve the conflict in Darfur region in the west of Sudan.
Salim Ahmed Salim said after greeting the SLM representatives that the Arusha international meeting would ideally get all parties concerned to talk about their demands so as to forge a pretext for the formal negotiation scheduled for September this year.
The AU special envoy clarified that the Arusha meeting would not be the negotiation itself but rather a pre-negotiation consultation.
When asked what are the demands held by the rebel movements in Darfur, he said that the rebel movements had been demanding compensation for victims and distribution of power in western Sudan.