Darfur rebels sign truce deal with Sudan

Darfur rebels sign truce deal with Sudan
# 21 February 2010 03:57 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Darfur’s most powerful rebel group has initialed a truce with the Sudanese government, officials said Saturday, marking the rebel group’s return to peace talks aimed at ending the Darfur conflict, APA reports citing “Associated Press.”

The truce between the rebel Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudanese government takes effect immediately, said Idriss Deby, Chad’s president, in a statement.

Justice and Equality Movement spokesman Ahmed Hussein said the deal initialed Saturday was a framework agreement to guide future peace negotiations, including talks on a permanent cease-fire. He said it will be formally signed in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday in the presence of Deby and the leaders of Sudan and Qatar.

The rebel group has been the most significant holdout in efforts to end the seven-year conflict in Darfur, in which 300,000 people have lost their lives to violence, disease and displacement.

The Justice and Equality Movement will take part in talks in Qatar which aim to reach a final agreement by March 15, Deby’s statement said.

Hussein said Saturday’s deal was important to the Darfur peace process.
"It’s a significant step for peace in Darfur," said Hussein. "It is a considerable achievement for both parties."

In Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced he was pardoning members of the Justice and Equality Movement on death row who had been convicted for taking part in an attack close to Khartoum in May 2008.