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The BBC's Jannat Jalil
"The SPLA... says the peace plan is incomplete "
 real 28k

Yoanes Ajawin, Former Sudanese Minister
"It could be the last chance for peace in the North"
 real 56k

Gill Lusk, Deputy editor of Africa Confidential
"The problem with the initiative is that it does not tackle the main issues for which the war has gone on for so long"
 real 28k

Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Rebels welcome Sudan peace plan
Sudanese rebels
Rebels have been fighting for autonomy since 1983
The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has given a cautious welcome to the latest Libyan-Egyptian initiative aimed at ending Sudan's 18-year civil war.

SPLA spokesman Samson Kwaje told the BBC that the initiative enhanced the prospects for peace.

On Wednesday, the Sudanese Government followed the opposition in announcing that it had also accepted the plan.

The initiative calls on both sides - the government and the opposition - to set up a committee leading to a national reconciliation conference.

The plan also calls for constitutional reforms and a transitional government.

Mr Kwaje did caution that he thought the peace plan should be merged with that of the East African regional grouping, IGAD.

And he added that it should also address SPLA demands for self-determination and include a constitutional separation between religion and state.

No referendum

The initiative does not include the key SPLA demand of a referendum on self-determination for the southern part of Sudan.

Unlike the Muslim north, Sudan's southerners are mostly Christians and animists.

They have little in common culturally with the north and they have spent the last 18 years fighting for greater autonomy.

Analysts say it is too early to tell what kind of a deal they will eventually win from the central government in Khartoum.

But one commentator remarked that the Libyan-Egyptian initiative could be the last chance for peace in Sudan.

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See also:

02 Jun 01 | Africa
Sudan summit fails to agree truce
28 May 01 | Africa
Sudan plans peace talks
21 Apr 01 | From Our Own Correspondent
Oil and Sudan's civil war
27 May 01 | Africa
Powell promises Sudan aid
24 May 01 | Africa
Sudan to halt air strikes
24 May 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Sudan
24 May 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Sudan
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