New round of Sudan peace talks

03 March 2003
Sudanese peace talks resume in Nairobi on 4 March, and will discuss the issue of administration of so-called 'conflict areas,' on which the government refused to negotiate in January. The three disputed areas are the Nuba Mountains region in Southern Kordofan, Abyei in West Khordofan and the Angasana in the Blue Nile province, and any agreement reached on their future status will be included in a final peace settlement. Both the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) reported substantial progress during the last round of talks, which focussed on the key issues of power and wealth sharing, and mediators hope to flesh out the details of these agreements during the new discussions (MEED 7:2:02). A strengthened ceasefire deal was also concluded in February, including the presence of international monitors to investigate reported breaches.

In a conflict unrelated to that between the SPLA and Khartoum in the south and east of Sudan, a newly-formed rebel group in the western Darfur region have seized a town in the Jebel Mara area and been involved in fierce fighting with government forces. The Front for the Liberation of Darfur claim that Khartoum is starving the poverty-stricken region of development projects. Darfur has long been the scene of ethnic unrest between rival tribes.

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