Sudan

Sudan Extends Ceasefire To Boost Peace, Aid Delivery

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KHARTOUM (Jan. 16) XINHUA - Sudanese government has prolonged a ceasefire with south rebels as of midnight, January 15, to support peace efforts and facilitate emergency aid delivery to the hunger-stricken south.

Hassan Abdin, undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry, has said that the three-month extension of the truce declared six months ago was enacted in an effort to achieve a comprehensive solution to the 17-year civil war, which and ensuing famine have claimed nearly 2 million lives.

The Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has been waging a war against the Islamist government for greater autonomy for the Christians and animists in the south. But the conflict is complicated by widespread inter-factional fighting and rebellions in the north. SPLA and government officials held the fifth round of peace talks in Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday, but the two sides, who are expected to start face-to-face negotiations on Monday, were still far from reaching compromise.

But the two sides agreed to hold a referendum on self- determination for the south, but have failed to agree where the boundary between north and south lies.

The government says the division should be along the boundary set by Britain when it granted independence to the Africa's largest country in 1956. !! But the SPLA argues that the province of Abyei -- taken away from the south four years earlier -- should also be included.

Copyright (c) 2000 Comtex Scientific Corporation
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/16/2000 07:34:59