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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 November, 2004, 13:41 GMT
Press upbeat over Sudan deal
UN representative Jan Pronk, centre, Sudanese official Yaya Hussein Babikar, left; SPLM negotiator Hhial Dehg Hhial , right
Searching for peace in Nairobi

Sudanese newspapers are encouraged by the peace deal agreed by the Khartoum government and southern rebels at a special UN Security Council meeting in Kenya late last week.

The agreement, which the UN hopes will be finalised by the end of the year, is also seen as blueprint for the settlement of the Darfur crisis.

An editorial in the Khartoum daily Al-Anba describes the Nairobi meeting as "a platform for civilised democracy".

"The memo of understanding signed by the first Vice-President, Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha, and the SPLM [rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement] leader John Garang shows the will of the Sudanese people to live in peace without being forced to do so."

The Darfur issue and the dust surrounding it has just started to clear before the eyes of the world

Al-Khartoum praises the approach to the issue by the UN Security Council as "highly commendable".

An editorial in another Khartoum paper, Alwan, believes the Nairobi meeting "disregarded baseless accusations of genocide, ethnic cleansing and rape in Darfur".

"This is an indication that the Darfur issue and the dust surrounding it has just started to clear before the eyes of the world."

Regional hopes

Al-Ayyam is encouraged by the fact the Security Council resolution reflected "international support for the view that Sudan is more than capable of resolving its own problems".

It referred to the resolution as "this crucial step".

The meeting also attracted comment in influential regional newspapers.

Saudi Arabia's Al-Jazirah hails the meeting as a potential turning point in an editorial headlined, "A strong beginning for Sudanese peace", stressing what it sees as a positive change in Washington's approach to the issue.

"The Sudanese peace process seems to be gaining new momentum after the two parties agreed to conclude an accord before the end of the year.

"The momentum is also reflected in the UN Security Council's first historic meeting outside its official headquarters in New York in 14 years, with a change in the American attitude, which this time dropped its threatening language and is now using encouraging promises to both parties to bring peace to the south."

But Egypt's Al-Ahram injects a note of caution, concerned that the Security Council initiative "will not bear fruit unless the council members, particularly the US, adopt a just and balanced policy between the Sudanese government and the rebels, be it in the south, in Darfur or in the east".

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Why the meeting is seen as a major step forward

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