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UN envoy for Africa attends Sudan peace talks in Kenya

UN envoy for Africa attends Sudan peace talks in Kenya

A senior United Nations envoy is in Kenya attending peace talks which opened today with the aim of ending the Sudan's long-running conflict, according to a spokesman for the world body.

The start of negotiations in Machakos, Kenya, marked the second round of talks between the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). The meetings are being convened under the auspices of the Sudan Peace Committee of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Africa, Mohamed Sahnoun, is working in cooperation with the IGAD mediators and with the "troika" of nations - the United States, United Kingdom and Norway - which are involved in the peace process, spokesman Fred Eckhard reported.

The current round of talks, which is expected to last for about five weeks, will focus on a ceasefire and other outstanding questions, including the relationship between the State and religion in the Sudan.

Last month, the Secretary-General voiced hope that at this round, the parties would be able to build on their momentum in order to reach a definitive peace agreement ending the "painful and debilitating" conflict which has plagued the Sudan for nearly 50 years.