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Sudan Peace Deal Signed, Ugandan Ceasefire Agreement Postponed

The Sudanese government and southern rebels have signed peace accords, marking the completion of a deal to end 21 years of civil war.

One of the accords signed today Friday is a permanent cease-fire, while the other covers details of how the final peace deal will be implemented.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Kenyan Vice President Moody Awori attended the ceremony in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, where previous talks have yielded several partial agreements.

Friday's signing fulfills a pledge by the government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues by the end of 2004.

Now, all that remains is for top negotiators from both sides to sign a final document. Mediators say that will likely take place January ninth.

Meanwhile, A cease-fire due to be signed Friday by the Ugandan government and rebels to end an 18-year war in the north of the country has been postponed.

The delay was announced as negotiators on both sides tried to hammer out unresolved parts of the proposed cease-fire agreement during meetings in the northern district of Kitgum, near the Sudanese border.

A new date for its signing has not been decided.

The chief mediator for the Ugandan government, Betty Bigombe, said Thursday the agreement could clear the way for formal negotiations on ending the conflict.

The northern-based Lord's Resistance Army has fought to overthrow the Ugandan government since 1987 -- displacing more than one million people. Its rebels are notorious for attacking civilians and kidnapping children.