Sudanese reach wealth-sharing accord

Sudan's government and the main southern rebel group have agreed on how to share the oil-producing country's wealth when the 20-year-old civil war ends.

    Talks are not over, but Taha and Garang have made huge progress

    Both sides endorsed a joint statement after conducting peace talks in the Kenyan town of Naivasha on Monday.

    "We are glad to inform our people all over the Sudan and the international community that we have reached an agreement on wealth sharing," the statement said.

    "This covers the division of oil and non-oil revenue, the management of the oil sector, and the monetary authority in the country."

    Chance for peace

    Sudanese Vice President Usman Ali Taha and the leader of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), John Garang, are expected to sign the document on Wednesday.

    SPLA spokesman Yasir Arman told journalists he had also finalised an agreement of 50-50 sharing of non-oil revenue such as taxes and other government income, he added.

    The bulk of this deal was settled late last month, when it was agreed that the SPLA and the government would receive equal shares of revenue from the country's oil output of 300,000 barrels a day.

    Huge human cost

    The deal "covers the division of oil and non-oil revenue, the management of the oil sector, and the monetary authority in the country"

    Joint statement,
    Naivasha peace talks

    The Sudanese civil war has killed two million people and displaced a further four million.

    The war pitted the government in Khartoum against rebel forces with grievances that have included regional investment and increased autonomy. The war also fractured ethnic and religious divisions.

    However, Monday's accord leaves two other topics to be settled before the combatants can reach a final comprehensive peace - how to share power and the status of three contested areas.

    The two sides have agreed on sharing oil revenue during a six-year interim period, splitting state and religion, forming a post-war army and letting the south hold a referendum on independence after the interim period.

    The latest round of peace talks between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) began in early 2002, but does not cover a separate rebellion taking place in Darfur, western Sudan.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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