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Eastern Sudan rebels obtain post of presidential assistant

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Oct 10, 2006 (ASMARA) -– The Sudanese eastern rebel group, according to the power sharing deal signed Monday here, will get a post of Presidential assistant besides other posts on the national and regional levels.

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The signing of the procedural arrangements for eastern Sudan peace talks, Asmara, May 25, 2006 (ERINA)

The Eastern Front should get two main positions in national unity government which are the posts of presidential assistant and presidential adviser as well as post of governor in one of the three states in the east.

Other posts include one ministerial post; one commissioner in each of the three states; an adviser to the governor of Khartoum State; eight members in the national parliament and 60 members in regional and local consultative councils.

However, the power-sharing deal did not give the Eastern Front any post of federal minister.

The power-sharing accord is the third protocol signed ahead of another protocol on the mechanism of implementing the peace pact, and the final peace agreement which is scheduled to be signed at the end of this week.

In a statement released in Asmara, which has been hosting and mediating the negotiations, Eritrea’s foreign ministry said the pact between Khartoum and the Eastern Front rebels would be inked on Saturday.

"A peace agreement between the Sudanese Government of National Unity and the East Sudan Front would be signed next Saturday, October 14, 2006, here in Asmara," it said, quoting Yemane Gebreab, a senior official in Eritrea’s ruling party.

The deal would be the third peace agreement signed by Khartoum with rebel groups in various parts of the country — the largest in Africa — in less than two years.

An agreement between Khartoum and a rebel faction in the war-torn western region of Darfur was signed in May this year but has failed to take hold.

A landmark peace deal was also signed between Khartoum and southern rebels in January 2005, bringing an end to more than two decades of deadly civil fighting. The former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement is now in a national unity government with President Omar al-Beshir’s National Congress but relations have often been strained.

The latest round of negotiations between Khartoum and a coalition of eastern rebel factions known as the Eastern Front resumed after a ceasefire agreement was reached on June 19.

The two sides had already concluded agreements on security and wealth-sharing.

According to SUNA, the document agreed upon Monday was initialled by the speaker of Kassala state legislative council Ahmed Hamid for Khartoum, and Eastern Front chief Mussa Mohammed Ahmed for the rebel side.

Eastern Front Secretary General Mabruk Mubarak Salim said in an interview with the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat published Tuesday that a special development fund had been set up for Sudan’s impoverished eastern provinces.

"A fund dedicated to the East’s ’deadly trio’ — namely education, health and water — has been set up. It will provide 600 million dollars (480 million euros) over five years in a bid to solve these problems," he said.

The Eastern Front was created last year by the region’s largest ethnic group, the Beja, and the Rashidiya Arabs, and has similar aims to its better-known counterparts in Darfur: greater autonomy and control of resources.

Its members have waged a low-level insurgency, and Sudan says the push to defuse the eastern crisis is part of efforts to pacify the whole country by building on peace pacts reached recently with other rebels.

(ST)

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