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In Sudan Govt says rebel group to sign Darfur peace pact

The readiness to sign a peace agreement by Sudan was arrived at days after President Omar Hassan al-Bashir extended a unilateral ceasefire.

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Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes play

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes

(AFP/File)

Sudan is ready to sign a peace agreement with major rebel group in the longstanding Darfur conflict, a government official said on Thursday.

The readiness to sign a peace agreement by Sudan was arrived at days after President Omar Hassan al-Bashir extended a unilateral ceasefire.

The development followed U.S. decision to review sanctions that crippled the country’s economy for two decades.

The accord was not expected to end the Darfur conflict as several other rebel factions resisted peacemaking to date.

The conflict erupted in 2003 when mainly non-Arab tribes took up arms against Sudan’s Arab-led government.

The U.S. said last week that it would unfreeze Sudan’s assets and remove financial sanctions as response to Khartoum’s cooperation in fighting Islamic State and
other militants, but would wait 180 days to assess progress on human rights and resolving conflicts such as in Darfur.

Talks to secure lasting ceasefire in Sudan’s three warring regions under a road map for peace collapsed last August.

Magdy Khalafalla, the head of the government’s office for peace in Darfur, said an agreement would be signed in Doha next week between the government and Sudan Liberation Second Revolution, a group led by prominent rebel figure Abu al-Qasim Imam.

The rebel group was not immediately available for comment but Khalafalla said the deal with Sudan Liberation Second Revolution would be added to a framework peace agreement the government put together in 2011 but only a few groups have so far signed on to.

“This movement’s inclusion will widen the area that enjoys peace in Darfur, especially in the Marra mountains area.

“We are optimistic that the coming period will see major developments in the peace process in Darfur,’’ Khalafalla added.

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