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Sudan, Rebels OK Truce for Nuba Region

January 20, 2002|From Associated Press

BUERGENSTOCK, Switzerland — Sudan's government and rebels agreed Saturday to a cease-fire in the vast country's Nuba Mountains, opening the way for aid to reach the troubled region and boosting hopes for wider peace in one of Africa's longest civil wars.

Negotiators from the government and the southern-based Sudanese People's Liberation Army, or SPLA, signed the deal during talks mediated by U.S. and Swiss diplomats. They agreed to stop fighting in the mountains within three days.

Both sides said more must be done to end 18 years of civil war in Sudan, where more than 2 million people are believed to have died in fighting and related famines.

"This cease-fire agreement is our baby, and we shall nurse and nourish it until it matures into a comprehensive and lasting peace," said Mutrif Siddig, head of the Sudanese government delegation.

Abdel Aziz Adam Hilu, head of the SPLA delegation, said, "This agreement will make it possible for the Nuba people to receive international assistance.

"But until and unless a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict in the Sudan is reached, the conflict in the Nuba Mountains is far from resolved," he said.

The deal foresees a monitoring commission of representatives of each side and neutral parties, and an international monitoring team.

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