SPLM/A Leader Expects Final Peace Deal by Year-end

ADDIS ABABA, 25 Oct 2004 (IRIN) -

Sudanese-rebel leader John Garang said on Friday he hoped a final peace deal between his insurgents and the government of Khartoum would be concluded before the end of the year.

Speaking at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he said peace talks in Naivasha, Kenya, paved the way for a final peace deal.

He also said the talks could help bring calm to the Darfur region in western Sudan, where the UN estimates 70,000 people have lost their lives as a result of a conflict that began early last year.

Garang's Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) and the government are currently working out the final details of a peace deal to end a 21-year fight for control of southern Sudan.

"It is a political framework for the whole country," said the SPLM/A leader, who is in Ethiopia for a five-day visit.

"I believe the completion of Naivasha [peace talks] and its implementation, puts in place in Khartoum a new government and creates a new political dynamic in Khartoum. "The solution to Darfur is actually through Naivasha."

Garang said an interim solution could be found in Darfur if the rebels and government stopped fighting.

The rebel leader held three-hour talks with the AU chairman, Alpha Oumar Konare about the on-going peace talks in Naivasha, Kenya.

He also met visiting European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana.


Posted in: Governance
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