Sudan nears peace deal with rebels

Sudan's government and southern rebels have resolved final disputes in peace talks, clearing major hurdles blocking a comprehensive accord to end 21 years of civil war.

    Rebel leader Garang (L) has fought Khartoum for 21 years

    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.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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