Home | News    Monday 10 November 2003

Arab League to observe Sudan peace talks for first time

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CAIRO, Nov 10 (AFP) — The Arab League said Monday it will for the first time send observers to the peace negotiations in Kenya aimed at ending Sudan’s 20-year civil war.

An Arab League delegation will "participate in the next negotiating session in Kenya," the league’s Sudan specialist Samir Hosni told reporters after the organisation’s head Amr Mussa held talks with a delegation from the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

The SPLA’s number two Salva Keer, who is heading the delegation, sent Mussa an invitation to the talks, Hosni said.

Hosni said the Kenya-based mediators of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which is hosting the peace talks, informed the league it could take part as an observer.

Negotiations are set to resume on November 30 in Kenya.

The SPLA delegation also asked for Arab League help in rebuilding war-ravaged southern Sudan, Keer told reporters.

He added that he briefed Mussa on "obstacles blocking an Arab League role in southern Sudan, especially the impression (among local inhabitants) that the league supports the government at the expense of the south."

Hosni said that a league delegation will "in the next few days visit southern Sudan to dicuss reconstruction projects".

The SPLA team also met in Cairo with Sadeq al-Mahdi, head of the Umma Party which is the biggest northern opposition force in Sudan, as well as officials from the opposition Democratic Unionist Party, the SPLA office here said.

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