Sudan

U.S. applauds return to Sudan peace talks

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The United States applauds the return to the peace talks by the Government of Sudan and The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement, the U.S. State Department announced January 23.

In a written statement released to the press, State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said the United States is, however, "particularly troubled by the Government of Sudan's recent attacks in the Western Upper Nile region of southern Sudan and its continued military build-up.

"The United States reminds both parties that they made a commitment to desist from military activity via a cessation of hostilities memorandum of understanding signed in October, 2002," he said.

Following is the text of the State Department statement:

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
January 23, 2003

Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman

Sudan: As Peace Talks Resume, Parties Must Abide By The Cease Fire Agreement

The United States applauds the return to the peace talks by Government of Sudan and The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement. The next round of talks, held under the auspices of the Inter Governmental Authority of Development in Kenya, began today.

The United States is, however, particularly troubled by the Government of Sudan's recent attacks in the Western Upper Nile region of southern Sudan and its continued military build-up. The United States reminds both parties that they made a commitment to desist from military activity via a cessation of hostilities memorandum of understanding signed in October, 2002.

The United States is closely monitoring reports of fighting instigated by the Government of Sudan regular army troops and militia forces. The United States as well as the international community fear that this is a violation of the spirit and letter of the October agreement. Continued fighting will certainly rob the peace effort of the necessary good will and trust required to reach a solution.

It is incumbent on both parties to abide by the October memorandum of understanding and end the fighting. Both the Government of Sudan and the SPLM have told the United States that they would pursue this course. Now is the time for them to act.

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