Sudan

United States welcomes effort to bolster cease-fire in Sudan

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The United States welcomes the Addendum to the ceasefire signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement strengthening the cease-fire that was signed last October.
In a statement released February 5, State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip T. Reeker noted February 5 that the parties to that agreement have also stated that "they would facilitate voluntary return of persons displaced by the fighting and would cooperate with the international community to ensure that humanitarian relief reaches needy populations."

Following is the text of the Reeker statement:

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
February 5, 2003

Statement by Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman

Sudan: United States Welcomes Effort to Bolster Cease-fire

The United States welcomes the Addendum signed by the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement strengthening the cease-fire that was signed last October. The Addendum to the cease-fire was signed February 4 at the peace talks in Karen, Kenya.

The United States, along with the United Kingdom, Norway and others, worked closely with both parties to the conflict and General Sumbeiywo, the Inter Governmental Authority on Development mediator of the peace talks, to reach agreement on the Addendum. Specifically, the Addendum includes key commitments by the Government to halt construction of a contentious oil-area road; and by both sides to pull back forces to the locations they occupied prior to the signing of the original cease-fire.

In a separate joint statement, the parties stated that they would facilitate voluntary return of persons displaced by the fighting and would cooperate with the international community to ensure that humanitarian relief reaches needy populations.

If respected by the two sides, the provisions contained in the cease-fire and the just-signed Addendum will help advance the peace process. The United States and the international community expect the parties to work expeditiously and in good faith to negotiate a peace settlement.

As we have previously made clear, the Sudanese government bears the principal responsibility for the violence that has taken place through attacks aimed at clearing civilian populations from oil producing areas, construction of a road and related garrisons in the oil-producing areas, and a movement of forces. The Civilian Protection Monitoring Mechanism is concluding its investigations of these actions and is expected to release its report shortly.

At the request of the two parties and General Sumbeiywo, the Civilian Protection Monitoring Mechanism will assist in the monitoring and verification of the cessation of hostilities. This reflects the continuing commitment of the United States to achieve a just and comprehensive peace settlement.

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)