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Nigeria oil rebels offer to halt attacks if Jimmy Carter is allowed to help talks

May 7, 2008

Nigeria oil rebels offer to halt attacks if Jimmy Carter is allowed to help talks

Militants wearing black masks

Lagos A Nigerian rebel, above, stands guard after a Royal Dutch Shell base was bombed in the state of Bayelsa at the weekend. Attacks by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta have raised the price of oil to a record $122 (£62) a barrel.

The Niger Delta rebels said they would stop attacks on the oil industry if the Nigerian Government would allow Jimmy Carter, the former US President, to act as a mediator in the conflict. The rebels, whose campaign of violence has cut output in the largest African oil producer by about a fifth, asked Mr Carter to act as a negotiator earlier this year. “We are ready to call off all hostilities and hold a temporary ceasefire in honour of President Carter should the Nigerian Government accept,” the rebels said in an e-mailed statement.

John Stremlau, the vice-president for peace programmes at the Carter Centre, said that Mr Carter would take such a request from all parties seriously but it was “woefully premature to suggest he will plunge himself into mediating this conflict”.

Mr Carter failed in a previous attempt to mediate in the conflict in 1999 but he is familiar to many senior members of the different militant factions. (Reuters)

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