The head of a cease-fire monitoring mission in northern Sudan's Nuba Mountains says the mandate of the international monitoring mission of been renewed.

The chairman of the Joint Military Commission, Brigadier General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen, told reporters in Nairobi Friday his group will continue monitoring the situation in the Nuba Mountains of northern Sudan for a further six months.

The Sudanese government and the south's main rebel group, the Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army, first signed their cease-fire agreement in January 2002 to stop their fighting in the Nuba Mountains.

The commission, backed by a dozen European and North American countries, was created to monitor the cease-fire.  The two sides had requested the extension.

Brigadier General Wilhelmsen says his group's mandate was extended to allow for the establishment of a United Nations peace support mission to be installed there and across the south during the next three to four months.

"So, my assessment is that we go on as we always have done, try to get better, and then prepare ourselves for the transition period and the hand over to the U.N.," he said.

He says his commission would offer personnel to the U.N. mission.

The Sudanese government and the rebels signed a comprehensive peace agreement earlier in the month to end 21 years of war between them.

Following the agreement's signing, the United Nations announced that it would be sending a peace support mission all across southern Sudan to monitor the peace agreement.

The Nuba Mountains was one of three areas in Sudan that was under dispute during the peace negotiations. Both sides argued that they should administer the area.

In the final peace agreement, the two sides agreed that the Nuba Mountains would have its own government headed by a governor directly appointed by registered voters, with representation from the north and south on a rotational basis.