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Last Updated: Friday, 26 December, 2003, 16:41 GMT
Bid to reach Sudan deal resumes
SPLA fighter
The 20-year civil war has caused untold misery
Peace talks between the Sudanese Government and southern rebels aimed at ending two decades of civil war have resumed after a Christmas break.

The two sides have promised to reach a settlement by the end of the year.

A week ago, Khartoum and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) reached agreement on sharing oil resources.

The two sides are now expected to turn their attention to power sharing and the future of three contested areas.

SPLA leader John Garang and the government's first vice president, Osman Ali Taha, have been meeting in the Kenyan resort town of Naivasha.

Oil wealth

The negotiations have centred on four key issues:

  • a separate central bank for the south;

  • currency for the south;

  • division of oil resources;

  • petroleum commissions so the SPLA could negotiate their own oil deals.

The sharing of revenue from oil has been central to the current round of talks.

Oil accounts for more than 43% of revenues for the Sudanese government.

But most of Sudan's oil is drawn from fields in the south, an area controlled by the SPLA.

Last week the two sides agreed to divide equally the oil revenues.

Mediators say the SPLA will be expected to pay a 2% levy to states where the oil is extracted.

Final phase

The two leaders of the government and rebel delegations have now started the final phase of the talks on power-sharing and the future of three disputed regions.

OUTSTANDING ISSUES
The status of three regions
Power sharing

The disputed regions are Abyei, Nuba mountains and the Southern Blue Nile which are claimed by both the government and the rebels.

The war in Sudan which broke out in 1983 has pitted the Christian and traditionalist south and the mainly Muslim north.

The conflict has claimed about two million lives and left an estimated four million people displaced.

Mediators especially the United States, have been putting pressure on both sides to reach a deal or a framework accord by the end of the year.




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