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Quotes from Sudan peace treaty signing ceremony

NAIROBI, Jan 9 (AFP) — Herewith selected quotations from Sunday’s peace treaty signing ceremony between Sudan and southern rebels, ending Africa’s longest-running civil war. Most speakers urged that the pact be used as a template to end the ongoing crisis in the western Darfur region.

A supporter of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement, holding an SPLM flag celebrates Sunday, Jan. 9, 2005, at Nyayo Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya during the signing of Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Sudan’s vice president and the country’s main rebel leader signed a comprehensive peace agreement to end Africa’s longest-running conflict Sunday, concluding an eight-year process to stop a civil war that has cost more than 2 million lives since 1983 (AP).

Sudanese President Omar el-Beshir: "The just concluded deal is not just a deal ... but a new contract for all Sudanese. It is a comprehensive accord that we must use ... to resolve the conflict in Darfur."

Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army leader John Garang: "This is the best Christmas and New Year’s gift for the Sudanese people, to our region and Africa for 2005 ... This peace agreement will change Sudan forever."

"I appeal to all the Sudanese people and our political forces to build consensus around this comprehensive peace agreement and use it to end (conflict) in other parts of Sudan."

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki: The agreement "marks the beginning of a new, brighter future for the people of Sudan. We hope that today’s celebrations will also give momentum to a realization of peace and security in Darfur."

Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar on behalf of President Olusegun Obasanjo, chairman of the African Union: "While the focus today is about the peace process in southern Sudan, we cannot overlook the crisis in Darfur."

UN chief Kofi Annan (in a statement read by UN special representative for Sudan Jan Pronk): "The signing is a milestone, it gives a blueprint for addressing conflicts in other areas, like in Darfur where the situation remains horrific."

US Secretary of State Colin Powell: "These new ’partners for peace’ must work together immediately to end the violence and atrocities that continue to occur in Darfur. Not next month on, in the interim period, but right away, starting today."

Chief mediator and former Kenyan general Lazaro Sumbeiywo: "The comprehensive agreement is a precious child to nurture with love and care."