Omdurman radio said the action plan to set up safe areas for the return of displaced people in the strife-torn Darfur region was approved in a cabinet meeting on Sunday held under Sudan's "legal and ethical responsibilities, rather than under any pressure".

It was a "bilateral agreement" with the UN, "but the holders of arms are regarded as a party to the plan", it said, referring to armed rebel groups and militias in Darfur, western Sudan.

Thirty-day plan

The plan, to be implemented within 30 days in line with a UN Security Council resolution, calls for Khartoum to secure specific villages and camps, as well as to set up safe access routes and escorted convoys.

It calls for a ceasefire between government forces and the rebels in the safe areas, and for the African Union and other international monitors to ensure the rebels lay down their arms.

It also reportedly commits Khartoum to ensure that pro-government militias do the same.

The cabinet on Sunday appealed to the international community to live up to its responsibilities, declaring it was ready to hold peace negotiations with the Darfur rebels in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on 23 August, said official daily Al-Anbaa.