People attend the ceremony in Al-Fasher to declare an end to 13 years of conflict in Darfur. AFP / ASHRAF SHAZLY
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President Omar al-Bashir Wednesday declared that peace had returned to Sudan's war-torn Darfur despite a deadlock in African Union-brokered cease-fire talks and persistent fighting that has driven thousands from their homes this year.Qatar has hosted successive rounds of peace talks between the Arab-dominated Khartoum government and the ethnic minority rebels who took up arms in 2003 against Bashir's administration.Bashir, who vowed to develop the strife-torn region, stopped short of outright declaring an end to a 13-year-old conflict in Darfur.The vote, which was boycotted by the rebels, was widely criticized by the international community and in June the U.N. Security Council voted to extend the mandate of an 18,000-strong peacekeeping force which the world body runs jointly with the African Union.
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