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Monday, January 10, 2005

BBC > Sudan leaders sign historic peace

The US secretary of state flew in to attend the ceremony Sudan's government and southern rebels have signed a comprehensive peace deal to end Africa's longest civil war.
South African President Thabo Mbeki and the US Secretary of State Colin Powell were among those attending the ceremony in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.
The war, which began nearly 50 years ago, has pitted the Muslim north against Christians and animists in the south, leaving some 1.5m people dead.
The peace deal does not cover the separate, newer conflict in Darfur.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has warned of worsening violence in Darfur, in western Sudan, where government-backed militia are accused of killing thousands as part of a campaign against rebels demanding more rights.
On the eve of the signing, Mr Powell said the end of the north-south civil war should spur on efforts to find a solution to the Darfur crisis.

Both sides will unify into 39,000-strong force if the south does not secede after six years
The south will have autonomy for six years followed by referendum for secession
Oil wealth
To be shared 50:50
To be split 70:30 in favour of the government in the central administration
To be split 55:45 in favour of the government in Abyei, Blue Nile State and the Nuba mountains
Islamic law
To remain in the north
Sharia in Khartoum to be decided by elected assembly And the main southern rebel leader, John Garang, said he hoped to be involved in peace talks on Darfur once he joined the planned national unity government.
"If I am invited, I will come. If I am not invited, I will ask to be invited," said Mr Garang, leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Mr Garang, set to become a vice-president, will sign Sunday's peace deal with President Omar al-Bashir's government.
The BBC's Ishbel Matheson in Nairobi says the Kenyan government is so delighted by the success of these long and difficult negotiations that it is throwing open the event to ordinary people.
She adds that when the former enemies put their signatures to the peace pact, there will be celebrations not just in Sudan but across the region and among the Sudanese diaspora around the world.
Starting in July, the south will be autonomous for six years and will then vote in a referendum to decide whether to remain part of Sudan, or become independent.
Sudan's new oil wealth - currently producing about 320,000 barrels a day - is to be split equally between north and south.
Apart from an 11-year period from 1972-1983, southern Sudan has been at war continuously since 1956. Peace talks began in 2002.
In 1983, the government - dominated by northern Arabs - tried to impose Islamic Sharia law across Sudan, even in areas where the majority is not Muslim.
The peace deal being signed in Nairobi follows the signing of a permanent ceasefire on New Year's Eve.

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