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UN’s Annan hails Eastern Sudan Peace Deal

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Oct 16, 2006 (UNINTED NATIONS) — UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the weekend signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese Government and rebels from the east of the vast African country, ending a conflict there separate to those that have afflicted Darfur and the south.

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Sudanese top negotiator Mustafa Osman Ismail shakes hands with the leader of eastern Front after the signing of a peace agreement between the two parties in Asmara on Sat 14 Oct 2006 (Shabait)

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Annan noted that the Government and the Eastern Front signed the deal on Saturday in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, following mediation by that country.

"The Secretary-General expresses the hope that the agreement will consolidate the settlement of the conflict in eastern Sudan, and contribute to peace and stability throughout the country," the statement said, adding that the UN is ready to help implement the pact.

Government forces and the coalition of groups known as the Eastern Front had clashed in Sudan’s east, close to the border with Eritrea, for several years.

The weekend deal follows the comprehensive peace agreement reached at the end of 2004 with rebels in Sudan’s south, ending a 20-year civil war in that part of the country and paving the way for power-sharing measures.

But fighting still rages in the impoverished western region of Darfur, where an estimated 200,000 people have been killed and another 2 million forced to flee their homes since 2003, when conflict broke out between the Government, allied Janjaweed militias and local rebel groups.

In May the Government reached the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) with some of the rebel groups, but fighting has only intensified since then, especially with those groups which did not sign the DPA.

(UN News)

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