[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 28 May, 2004, 08:31 GMT 09:31 UK
Sudan 'looking to Darfur peace'
Northerner and southerner celebrating the peace deal
Northerners and southerners rarely mix
The signing of a peace deal with southern rebels will now also help end conflict in the region of Darfur, Sudan's vice president has said.

Vice President Ali Osman Taha was speaking at a rally of thousands of people in the capital, Khartoum, held to celebrate the peace deal.

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

Darfur is now the world's worst humanitarian crisis, the UN says.

Some one million people have fled what the United Nations and the US call "a campaign of ethnic cleansing" against black Africans by government-backed Arab militias in Darfur.

'Turn the page'

"One of the first fruits of peace will be the extinguishing of the conflict in Darfur," Mr Taha told the ecstatic crowd, some dancing with joy.

"We will begin tomorrow to focus our efforts, to turn over the page of war in Darfur as the page of conflict and killing was turned over in the south," he said.

Began: 1983
2m killed
Muslim north against Christian, Animist south
Began: 2003
10,000 dead, 1m displaced
Arab government, militia against black Africans

The BBC's Alfred Taban in Khartoum says that Muslim northerners and Christian and Animist southerners mixed freely at the rally, which he said was not common.

Before Mr Taha's speech, people on the stage shouted the Muslim chant "God is great" and the Christian "Hallelujah".

US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, praised the agreement and urged the two sides to work out quickly how to implement it but added a warning about the fighting in western Sudan, where a rebellion broke out last year.

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

Sudan analyst Gill Lusk says the arrival of peace in the south has enabled the government to switch military resources to Darfur.


The framework brings together the mainly Muslim Arab government of the north with the black African Christian and animist rebels of the south.

Talks had stalled on how power would be shared in a transitional administration; on whether the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, would be governed under Islamic law; and how Abyei, the Nuba Mountains and Southern Blue Nile regions would be administered.

Sudanese hopes for peace after 21 years of civil war

In the end, it was agreed that the north would have 70% of jobs in the central government, with 30% filled by southerners.

In the three disputed regions, the government will have 55% of the positions and the rebels 45%.

The two sides have already established that the south should be autonomous for six years, culminating in a referendum on the key issue of independence, with Sharia law remaining in the north.

Protocols have also been signed on how to share out oil revenues, the establishment of separate monetary systems in the north and south, and security arrangements involving the two armies.

All that remains for the two sides to work out are procedural matters to end the 21-year civil conflict.

It is hoped that a final peace treaty could be signed in Washington as early as next month.

The US said the deal paved the way for normal relations to be revived with Sudan, providing certain conditions were met.

The BBC's Jacky Rowland
"The agreement only addresses the conflict in the south"

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific