Delegates Visit Khartoum for Sudan Peace Talks

By Alfred Taban

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - An African delegation arrived in Khartoum on Saturday night to continue peace talks with Sudan's Islamist government on a 17-year insurrection in the country's south, diplomats said.

The delegates arrived after fighting flared up last week in east Sudan between the government and an alliance of northern and southern opposition forces.

Daniel Mboya, Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi's special envoy to Sudan, is leading a five-member team from the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), an East African grouping that has been trying to broker a peace deal for five years, Kenyan diplomatic sources said.

''The visit comes within the context of the resumption of the peace talks between the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) which are expected to start in early April in Nairobi,'' one source said.

Mboya was accompanied by the Ugandan high commissioner to Kenya, the Eritrean ambassador in Nairobi, and two other officials of the Nairobi-based IGAD secretariat.

The delegation is expected to meet Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail and President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's peace adviser Nafie Ali Nafie during its four-day visit.

The last round of peace talks between the government and the SPLA, seeking autonomy in the mainly Christian and animist south, was held in Nairobi last month.

The IGAD forum does not include opposition groups in the Muslim, Arab north. Sudan's Arab neighbors Egypt and Libya started their own effort last year to end the civil war, which has caused the deaths of over 1.5 million people.

Northern groups, including the country's biggest opposition party, Umma, have said they want the two peace initiatives to be merged into one.


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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