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Last Updated: Monday, 6 October, 2003, 02:28 GMT 03:28 UK
Critical step in Sudan peace talks
By Martin Plaut
BBC News

Peace talks aimed at ending the Sudanese civil war are due to resume in Kenya on Monday between government representatives and the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

It follows three weeks of discussions that took place last month between two of the most senior figures on both sides - Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha and the rebel leader, John Garang.

From left, SPLA's John Garang, Sudan's Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha at peace talks in Kenya
Key leaders held lengthy talks in September
The peace talks, which are taking place in the town of Naivasha, have reached a critical juncture.

A London-based study group, Justice Africa, says the two leaders risked their political careers by engaging in last month's lengthy face-to-face meetings.

Their reception on returning to their respective bases was, said the group, unprecedented, with both men receiving a hero's welcome.

The reason was that the talks are reported to have achieved a real breakthrough, by charting a route through the difficult question of security.

This included a proposal for a 39,000-strong integrated army, bringing together government and rebel forces.

Political issues and the question of how to share the country's oil wealth were also covered.

On Monday the last phase of the peace process is due to open with discussions of the details of the proposed deal.

Ali Osman Taha and John Garang are scheduled to meet again in a week's time to iron out any remaining hurdles. Only then will it be clear if this peace process has finally succeeded.




SEE ALSO:
Sudan peace deal on security
24 Sep 03  |  Africa
From soldiers to schoolboys
22 Sep 03  |  Education
Sudan's peace under threat
09 Sep 03  |  Africa
Sudan Government frees 'rebels'
07 Sep 03  |  Africa
Sudan president pledges peace
01 Jul 03  |  Africa
Sudan 'ceasefire broken'
02 Jan 03  |  Africa
Country profile: Sudan
03 Mar 03  |  Country profiles


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