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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Sudan truce deal signed
Dinka women in southern Sudan
Civilians have paid the price for 19 years of war
The Sudanese Government and rebels have agreed to observe a truce while their peace talks continue in the Kenyan town of Machakos.

Reuters news agency reports that the agreement covers all areas of Sudan. On Monday, the agreement was delayed after the government insisted that it only cover the south.


This is the first time where we have signed a cessation of hostilities

Samson Kwaje SPLA
The BBC's Ishbel Matheson, reporting from Machakos, says both sides have come under intense international pressure to sign their first truce after 19 years of civil war.

Two million people are believed to have died in the conflict, which has pitted rebels from the mainly Christian south against the Arab government of the north.

"Both parties have signed the cessation of hostilities, which will take effect on 17 October at noon (0900 GMT)," said Lazaro Sumbeiywo, Kenya's envoy at the talks, according to Reuters.

"It will last for as long as the talks are on, which could be until the end of the year," he told reporters.

'Purge'

"This is the first time where we have signed a cessation of hostilities," said Samson Kwaje, spokesman for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

"Both parties have signed so as to allow the talks to continue."

Government negotiator Tagelsir Mahgoub, Sudan's state minister for labour and administration reform, confirmed that the deal had been signed, according to Reuters.

The overall peace talks are set to resume on Wednesday, Mr Kwaje said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the army claimed to have captured more territory from the SPLA.

Sudanese state radio quoted General Mohamed Beshir Suleiman as saying the army's capture of Loringo and Lofid areas in East Equatoria State was part of a campaign to "purge the area of rebels who fled Torit".

The army retook the key garrison town of Torit last week.

State radio also reported fierce fighting in eastern Sudan, near the Eritrean border.

Negotiators believe a ceasefire must be in place if progress is to be made with the overall peace process.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Chief mediator Lazaro Sumbeiywo on Focus on Africa
"They are not hugging each other nor are they punching each other"

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08 Oct 02 | Africa
04 Oct 02 | Africa
22 Sep 02 | Africa
10 Sep 02 | Africa
09 Sep 02 | Africa
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