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Sudan, Rebels Resume Peace Talks

October 7, 2003

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Sudan’s government and the country’s main rebel group resumed talks Tuesday aimed at ending a 20-year civil war.

Following a breakthrough on security during the last round of talks, the two sides are expected to focus on the composition of a transitional government, wealth sharing and the administration of three disputed areas in central Sudan, said Ad’Dirdeiry M. Hamed, the country’s deputy ambassador to Kenya and a delegate at the negotiations.

The talks are scheduled to last until Oct. 25, said Hamed and Samson Kwaje, a spokesman for the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army.

The sides adjourned a previous round in the Kenyan town of Naivasha on Sept. 25 after the warring parties made major progress with an agreement on what to do with their armed forces during a six-year transition period.

In July 2002, shortly after the peace process began, the government and the rebels reached a deal known as the Machakos Protocol, under which the government accepted the right of southerners to self-determination through a referendum after six years. The rebels in turn accepted the maintenance of Islamic or Sharia law in the north.

An estimated 2 million people have died in the conflict, mainly through war-induced famine and disease, since 1983 when southern rebels took up arms against the predominantly Arab and Muslim north to obtain greater autonomy for the largely animist and Christian south.

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