Kenya's Foreign Ministry confirmed the news on Tuesday and said there had been "a major breakthrough".

A ministry spokeswoman said Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) planned to sign several protocols at a ceremony on Wednesday in the Kenyan town of Naivasha.

She said the two parties had settled the status of three disputed areas - the Nuba Mountains, the Southern Blue Nile and Abyei - and agreed on how to share power once Africa's longest-running conflict comes to an end.

Darfur conflict

However, the agreements at Naivasha will not cover a separate conflict which has raged for more than a year in western Sudan's Darfur region, creating what the United Nations says is one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

The signings, to be followed at some stage by a final ceasefire agreement, would clear the way for the inking of a much-delayed peace deal.

It is hoped the deal would end a war that has killed an estimated two million people mainly through famine and disease and has forced millions more to flee.