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Sudan Government, Rebels to Resume Peace Talks Monday - 2003-08-10


Peace talks aimed at ending 20-years of civil war in Sudan are to resume Monday between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese People's Liberation Army. The peace negotiations are resuming despite the government's opposition to a recently proposed final peace accord.

Even though the Sudanese government opposes a draft final peace accord that it said would lead to the secession of southern Sudan, government and rebel leaders are resuming their talks in Kenya.

Sudanese rebels in the country's mostly Christian and Animist south have been fighting a civil war for two decades to end the domination of northern Sudan's Arab Muslim government.

A broad peace agreement was signed last year in July 2002 aimed at ending the fighting and granting southern Sudan more autonomy. The pact called for a six-year transition period in which the south would be given, among other things, the right to self-determination and wealth-sharing. The south would also be exempted from Islamic laws.

But a final peace accord presented last month to mediators from both sides was rejected by the government, and peace talks broke down.

In an interview Sunday with Egypt's government-run daily newspaper Al-Ahram, Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir said his government will not sign what he called an unfair peace accord with southern rebels.

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