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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 December, 2004, 13:58 GMT
Sudan and rebels 'to agree peace'
Government representative Yaya Hussein Babikar (left) and SPLA delegate Nhial Deng Nhial exchange documents
Various deals have been reached in 30 months of talks
A final peace deal between the Sudanese government and southern rebels should be signed next month, officials say.

Talks between the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) are set to continue into the new year to resolve outstanding differences.

But a government spokesman said a signing ceremony would be held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on 10 January.

However, others in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, where the talks are being held, said no date had yet been set.

Gutbi el-Mahdi, political adviser to President Omar al-Bashir, told the official Sudan Media Centre that the signing ceremony would be celebrated publicly both in the north and the south of Sudan.

It is hoped that an end to Africa's longest-running civil war - in which the Muslim north has been pitted against Christians and animists in the south - may also help to resolve the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region, where separate rebel groups challenge the government.

About two million people have died since the civil war began in 1983, and peace negotiations have been ongoing since 2002.


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