MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow will host an international conference on Sudan on October 6-7, bringing together politicians, scientists and legal experts to discuss ways to resolve the situation in Darfur.
The civil war that broke out in the western region of Darfur in early 2003 has claimed the lives of more than 300,000, according to United Nations estimates, and forced 2.7 million people from their homes. The Sudanese side puts the number of dead at 10,000.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, where the fighting has involved numerous armed groups, Sudanese troops and government-linked militias.
In January the Russian president's envoy for Sudan, Mikhail Margelov, and Sudanese parliamentary speaker Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir proposed holding an international conference on Darfur to "to look at the events from the outside and find ways of reconciliation."
The UN, EU, China, the Netherlands, the United States, Finland, Sweden, African Union leaders and Arab League countries, as well as humanitarian organizations, academics and a Sudanese delegation, have confirmed their participation.
Margelov's press service earlier announced participation of Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ali Aboul Gheit, but the Egyptian Embassy denied that the minister would attend the conference.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.