Sudan pressures rebels over peace

The Sudanese government has urged the main southern rebel group to sign a final peace deal by the end of the year.

    Sudan's warring factions are close to a peace deal

    The pressure from Khartoum came on the eve of the last session of high-level

    talks in Kenya.

    "We are hoping this is the last round of talks," government chief negotiator

    Nadi Ali Nadi said on Sunday after Sudanese Vice-

    President Ali Usman Taha arrived in Nairobi for the negotiations.

    "We hope

    that we will complete the peace deal," he said.

    Taha and Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) leader

    John Garang will go into head-to-head negotiations on Monday, a week

    after delegates started discussing details of a permanent

    ceasefire and security measures in the Kenyan northwestern

    town of Naivasha.

    "We are enthusiastic and we feel that our brothers on the other

    side [SPLM/A] will be keen to wrap up this whole thing and complete

    a peace deal," said Nadi

    .

    Africa's longest war

    The UN Security Council last month held a special session in

    Nairobi and extracted a written promise from the Sudan government

    and SPLM/A rebels to sign the deal ending 21 years of conflict in

    southern Sudan by 31 December.

    "We hope to beat the deadline. Issues that are remaining are

    not difficult"

    Nadi Ali Nadi,
    chief government negotiator

    "We hope to beat the deadline. Issues that are remaining are not difficult

    ," Nadi added.

    More than two years of intense negotiations have already

    delivered agreements on key issues such as sharing of power and

    wealth, leaving technical details on the negotiation table, crucial

    to reaching a final peace deal to halt Africa's longest and

    bloodiest conflict.

    At least 1.5 million people have been killed and more than four

    million others displaced by the war, which erupted in 1983 when the

    mainly Christian and animist south took up arms to end domination by

    the Arabised, Muslim north as Khartoum tried to impose Islamic law (sharia) on the entire country.

    SOURCE: AFP


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