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Sudan Gov’t, Rebels Sign Cease-Fire

October 15, 2002

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Sudan’s government signed an agreement with rebels on Tuesday to suspend fighting during talks to end their 20-year-old war, an official with the mediation team said.

The cease-fire takes effect at noon on Thursday and covers the entire country, Africa’s largest. It will last as long as negotiations, said the official, who did not want to be further identified.

The government had insisted rebels agree to a cease-fire during the talks, which are expected to continue through the end of the year. They began Monday and are taking place in Machakos, 30 miles southeast of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Neither the government nor rebel officials could be reached for comment.

Civil war broke out in 1983 when the rebels looking for autonomy in the south took up arms against the predominantly Arab Muslim government.

An estimated 2 million people have been killed during the conflict, mainly through war-induced famine, and another 4 million have been forced to flee their homes.

The United States has stepped up pressure on the Sudanese government, with the House of Representatives passing a resolution Oct. 7 threatening sanctions if the Sudan government didn’t negotiate in good faith with the rebels.

The fighting has intensified in recent years as foreign companies began drilling for oil in central Sudan.

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