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Preliminary Agreements Signed Between Sudan Gov't, Northeastern Rebels


Sudan's government and northeastern rebels have signed two agreements that lay the groundwork for future peace negotiations.

Eritrea's Information Ministry reports that the sides signed the deals Monday after days of talks mediated by the Eritrean government in its capital, Asmara.

In the agreements, both sides agreed to stop military hostilities, to refrain from attacking civilians and their property, to end hostile media campaigns and to set up a joint committee to monitor implementation of the deals.

The eastern Sudan conflict has simmered for more than a decade. Eastern Front rebels, led by Musa Muhammad, say Khartoum has neglected their region while benefiting from its resources. The rebels say they want more autonomy and a larger share of the area's wealth.

Eastern Sudan is home to the country's ports, a major oil pipeline and significant gold reserves.

The region's conflict is not related to Sudan's north-south civil war, which ended last year, or to the continuing violence in western Darfur region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.