Home | News    Wednesday 23 July 2003

Sudan rebel tells government to accept peace plan

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NAIROBI, July 23 (Reuters) - Sudanese rebel leader John Garang told Kenyan television on Wednesday that if the Khartoum government did not accept peace proposals suggested by mediators, there would be no end to their war.

Sudan’s warring factions have been trying to negotiate an end to their 20-year-old conflict for the past year, and analysts say they have reached a crunch point.

Mediators have put forward suggestions on how to resolve many of the issues still to be resolved, but the government has rejected the document and says it wants a new set of proposals before it returns to the negotiating table.

"Khartoum wants to negotiate again. No, we will not go that route," leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) Garang told private station Kenya Television Network, monitored by the BBC.

"We will not re-negotiate and re-negotiate. We have done this over the last ten years.

"What is the alternative if they reject this document? The alternative is to go back to war. And absolutely that is a bad alternative."

The southern SPLM and the northern government have been fighting since 1983. The conflict, over oil, religious freedom, ethnicity and the right for southerners to govern themselves, has killed an estimated two million people.

Peace talks were due to resume on Wednesday in Kenya, but were delayed to permit further consultations with both sides.

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