Monday, March 22, 2004

Sudan: peace talks extended

The negotiation in Kenya between the SPLA/M and the government of Sudan has been extended ...
"They are considering dealing with the two outstanding issues [Abyei and power sharing] in a package instead of as individual issues. They have made some progress on Abyei where there was a deadlock," [chief mediator Lazarus] Sumbeiywo said.

Sources close to the talks said they had been extended to March 31, although Sumbeiywo declined to confirm this.
President Bush today spoke on the phone with SPLA/M leader Garang and Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir. He urged al-Bashir to accept a U.S. proposal on the disputed areas as a starting point for the negotiations ... and said that the US's relationship with Sudan will change once a peace agreement is signed. The same article also says that Bush urged al-Bashir to "rein in militia" in Darfur.

The SPLA/M has already accepted the US proposal on the disputed areas.
The U.S. proposes that once a peace deal is reached Abyei should have its own government and belong to both the north and the south of Sudan.

The proposal, presented to both sides by special U.S. envoy John Danforth on Friday, says the region's oil revenues would be split with 50 percent going to Khartoum and 42 percent to the southern rebels, with the remainder spit between local tribes.

"The proposal put forward is an acceptable compromise," said an SPLA spokesman. "If we are to choose between having a middle ground or collapse of the talks, we definitely choose the middle ground."
SPLA/M = Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement