First Published: 2004-06-17

Sudan Peace talks to start next week

Key round of peace talks between Khartoum, southern Sudanese rebels to start June 25, continue until July 19.


Middle East Online

Crucial round

KHARTOUM - A key round of peace talks between the Sudanese government and southern rebels is due to open in Kenya on June 25 and continue until July 19, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Negotiations will focus on power-sharing arrangements, setting up a joint military, observation of the ceasefire and the number and location of observers, a senior official told the official Al-Anbaa newspaper.

The discussion points were set out in the ceasefire protocol, signed between both parties in Switzerland in December 2001, added Mutraf Sadik, undersecretary of state to the foreign ministry.

The government and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) are to discuss "the final preparations for the last annex relating to the implementation of the protocols", he said.

From Tuesday until the talks open on June 25, the SPLA, which is led by John Garang, and the government will organise a workshop in Kenya to clarify the steps needed to implement the ceasefire "with military experts from both sides and the United States", Sadik said.

Khartoum and the SPLA have signed accords paving the way for an end to 21 years of civil war in southern Sudan and providing for a six-year transitional period before a referendum on possible cession for the south.

The war in Sudan erupted in 1983 when the mostly Christian and animist south took up arms to end domination and marginalisation by the wealthier, mainly Muslim north.

Together with recurrent famine and disease, the war has killed at least 1.5 million people and displaced four million others.


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