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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 May, 2004, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
In quotes: Sudan peace deal
SPLA supporters, with their flag
Southerners hope that 21 years of war is finally over
Sudan's government and main rebel group have signed key deals clearing the way for a full treaty to end Africa's longest-running civil war.

An estimated two million people have died in the conflict, which erupted between the north and south in 1983.

This is what some of those involved in the talks, foreign observers and ordinary Sudanese had to say: SPLA leader John Garang

"We have reached the crest of the last hill in our tortuous ascent to the heights of peace. There are no more hills ahead of us, the remaining is flat ground."

Vice President Ali Osman Taha

"This is a day for Sudan, for peace, development and stability."

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

"This is a victory not only for the people of Sudan, who are so passionately thirsty for peace and stability for their country, but also for the entire continent."

US Secretary of State Colin Powell

"We commend both sides for their commitment to peace and urge them to move quickly to work out details of a formal ceasefire and related security arrangements."

"Sudan will not be at peace until the problem of Darfur is resolved."

Human Rights Watch

"Ending the war in southern Sudan is a huge step forward, but in the western part of the country, the Sudan government is taking a terrible step backward."

Uthman al-Mirghani, Sudan's Al-Ra'y Al-Am newspaper

"Both Taha and Garang deserve the Nobel Peace Prize."

Sayed el-Khatib, Sudanese government negotiator

"This is the most detailed peace agreement that has probably been negotiated in the history of the world because of the problems we have had, the lack of trust and prolonged conflict."

Ibrahim Ahmad Umar, secretary-general of Sudan's ruling National Congress

"The signing of the three protocol agreement is a blessing for all Sudanese people."

Raja Ahmed al-Tayyeb, 30, graphics designer, Khartoum

"Now we must work on our society and on the concepts of social and ethnic privilege that are dominant within it. If we do that, then we will remain united."

Yassir Abdullah, 33, Khartoum

"The real issue is the building of trust between northerners and southerners."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
The BBC's Karen Allen
"There was relief and jubilation after the signing"



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