Sunday, 30 April 2006

Sudan accepts Darfur peace deal

The Sudanese government accepted the African Union's proposal for peace in Darfur on Sunday, a government statement said.

"The government ... wishes to confirm its decision to formally accept this document and its readiness to sign it," said a statement from Majzoub al-Khalifa, head of the government's negotiating team at peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria.

"The government wishes to confirm its full commitment to implement the agreement in good faith. The delegation is also fully convinced that any difficulties that might come up in the implementation stages can be resolved by consensus between all the parties."

The rebels have yet to respond officially to the 85-page document but several of their leaders complain that it does not meet their key demands, in particular on power sharing.

The government statement was the latest in a series to try to convince them to drop some of their demands and rely on conflict resolution mechanisms embedded in the agreement.

Sunday was the deadline set by the African Union for the parties to wrap up two years of talks to end the conflict in western Sudan.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since rebels took up arms against the government in 2003 and more than 2 million have been forced from their homes.



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