Home | News    Friday 29 September 2006

Sudan, eastern rebels sign security deal

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Sept 28, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government and eastern rebels signed a draft security protocol on Thursday, raising the prospects for an end to the low-level revolt in the economically important region, state news agency SUNA reported.

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Rebel Eastern Front delegation to ceasefire modalities talks with the Sudanese army, Mussa Osman Issa the rebel signatory is the first on the left. 4 July 2006. (Shabait)

The agency did not provide details of the deal with the rebel Eastern Front, signed in the Eritrean capital Asmara, and officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was the most significant achievement of the Eritrean-mediated peace talks since June, when Sudan’s government and the eastern rebels signed a pact to cease hostilities and agreed a framework for future talks.

The eastern rebels, whose revolt has been in progress for about a decade, share the complaints of their counterparts in Darfur in the west and in southern Sudan — that Khartoum fails to develop the regions while exploiting their natural resources.

The under-developed east is home to Sudan’s largest gold mine, its main port and a major oil pipeline.

During about a decade of low-scale conflict, eastern rebels have allied themselves with former southern rebels and those from Darfur.

But after some of those insurgents signed peace deals to join the central government the eastern rebels have found themselves in a weaker negotiating position.

This year they also lost control of the Hamesh Koreb area on the Eritrean border where, along with southern rebels, they had based their forces. Under a 2005 north-south deal, the northern army took over the area earlier this year.

(Reuters)

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