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Sudan’s Nuba Mountains monitors offer to assist in implementing peace deal


NAIROBI, Jan 21 (AFP) — An international truce monitoring team in Sudan’s central Nuba Mountains region said Jan. 21 it was ready to assist Khartoum and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) implement a final peace deal that ended Africa’s longest-running conflict.

The Joint Monitoring Mission/Joint Military Commission (JMM/JMC), which oversees a Nuba Mountains truce signed in January 2002, also said that accord had been a "success" despite 135 non-shooting violations.

In a statement released here, the panel offered its help in implementing the Jan. 9 peace agreement signed Nairobi between the Sudanese government and the SPLA/M, that ended 21 years of fighting that claimed at least 1.5 million people and displaced four million others.

It said it would help both sides with creating a "post-comprehensive peace agreement environment", including setting up a viable police force and civilian administration and preparing for disarmament and demobilization of fighters.

The UN-backed JMM will cease to exist when the United Nations deploys troops for a peacekeeping operation in southern Sudan, expected in three or four months.

Before the 2002 truce, fighting raged in the Nuba Mountains, a region roughly the size of Austria, for more than two decades. Although geographically in the north of the country, its inhabitants fought alongside the SPLM/A.

Under the peace agreement, residents of Nuba mountains will have autonomy during a transitional period of six years.

The mission "shall not be forgotten, but yield fruits in future peace support operations where two parties are willing and able to contribute to a sustainable peace," the JMM said.

- The Nuba Mountains Joint Military Commission

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