The Khartoum-based independent daily al-Sahafa newspaper said on Wednesday that an agreement was reached after three weeks of talks with a government delegation in the rebel stronghold of Kornoy.

The rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) submitted a list of 12 demands, including its formal recognition as a political party, after the two sides agreed to settle the conflict through talks, reported the paper.

The SLM called on the government to end deployment of tribal militiamen against its forces and cease branding its supporters as bandits.

The official government delegation were all Zaghawas, the main ethnic group within the SLM, said the daily.

In the past, Khartoum refused to acknowledge any political motivation for the unrest in the north, south and west Darfour states, blaming it instead on “armed criminal gangs and outlaws”.

But in an interview last month Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail appealed to the people of Darfur to lay down their arms and launch dialogue with the government.

In a July report human rights watchdog Amnesty International criticized Khartoum for alleged abuses committed by militiamen it has recruited among Darfur’s nomadic tribes to battle the SLM.