Annan welcomes progress in Sudan peace talks

Annan welcomes progress in Sudan peace talks

Welcoming recent progress in peace talks on the Sudan, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today expressed hope that a definitive agreement could be reached in the next round of negotiations, set for August.

In a statement released in New York by his spokesman, the Secretary-General said that by building on the momentum generated so far, the parties could "put an end to this painful and debilitating conflict which has plagued the Sudan for nearly 50 years."

Mr. Annan, during a recent visit to Khartoum, had held "open and full discussions on the peace process" with President Omar Hassan el-Bashir, and had followed up by dispatching a Special Envoy to meet Dr. John Garang, the leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement, according to the statement.

Spokesman Fred Eckhard said the Secretary-General "is confident that, once a definitive peace agreement is reached, the international community will be ready to provide the necessary assistance for its full implementation."

The talks have been taking place in Machakos, Kenya, under the auspices of the Sudan Peace Committee of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).