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Sudan Government, Rebels Agree to Extend Cease-Fire - 2003-11-28

The government of Sudan and the country's main rebel group have agreed to extend their cease-fire for another two months, pending the negotiation of a peace agreement.

The Kenyan mediator of the Sudanese peace talks, retired General Lazaro Sumbeiywo, says Friday's cease-fire extension will enable the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army to conclude their peace talks.

The cease-fire has been extended before - usually for a six-month period - since the two sides began peace negotiations more than a year ago.

General Sumbeiywo says the two-month extension period shows that the two sides are close to a peace agreement.

"We are anticipating to get an agreement by the end of this year, and to wrap it up by early January," he said.

The peace negotiations are scheduled to resume November 30, with rebel leader John Garang and First Vice-President Ali Osman Taha joining the talks a few days later. Among the most difficult points being negotiated are details of power sharing and security agreements.