Imminent peace deal in southern Sudan offers blueprint for Darfur - Annan

30 December 2004

As reports indicate that the Sudanese Government and rebels are likely to sign a peace deal ending the 21-year civil war in the country's south, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today that an agreement could serve as a blueprint for resolving the separate crisis engulfing Sudan's Darfur region.

Asked by a journalist about the media reports of an imminent peace deal, Mr. Annan said he thought it would have a "positive impact on the country" and lead to both a formal national conference and national dialogue.

Representatives of Khartoum and of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) have been negotiating in Naivasha, Kenya, in a bid to end the civil war that has killed more than 2 million people and displaced up to 4 million others since it began in 1983. Earlier this year the two sides signed a series of protocols about power-sharing and the distribution of economic resources, including oil.

In November the Sudanese Government and the SPLM/A signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to successfully conclude their peace talks in Naivasha by the end of this year.

Mr. Annan said he hoped that any agreement in southern Sudan would "add momentum" to resolving the conflict in Darfur, where more than 1.85 million people have been displaced and tens of thousands of others killed since rebels took up arms against the Government early last year.

The Secretary-General said some of the solutions found for the war in southern Sudan could be useful in developing a plan to end the conflict in Darfur.


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