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Sudan Approves Peace Deal with Eastern Rebels


Sudan's government has ratified a peace agreement with eastern rebels aimed at ending a decade of revolt in the region.

A government spokesman says cabinet members approved the accord Wednesday during a special meeting headed by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The president says the state of emergency in eastern Sudan will be lifted in two days.

The government and rebel leaders signed the peace accord Saturday, following help from Eritrean mediators.

Under terms of the deal, the government will integrate fighters from the Eastern Front rebel group into the Sudanese army, and appoint several members of the group to government positions.

The government also will allocate a total of $600 million for the eastern region's development over the next five years.

The eastern rebels took up arms in the 1990s, saying the central government had neglected their region. The area is rich in natural resources but remains largely impoverished.

The Eastern Front consists of the non-Arab Beja and Arab Rashaidya tribes.

This latest peace deal is the third Sudan's government has signed with rebel groups in the last two years. A deal with southern rebels in January 2005 is widely considered to be on shaky ground, while an agreement with Darfur's largest rebel group in May has failed to stop the fighting in that region.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.