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Sudan peace talks process positive: US special envoy
www.chinaview.cn 2004-01-16 23:08:47

    NAIVASHA, Kenya, Jan. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The US special envoy for peace in the Sudan said here Friday that the Sudan peace talks process is very positive.

    "The peace process for the Sudan has been going on for some two years, and it would be very difficult to overstate what's been accomplished during that period of time. It really has been very, very positive," John Danforth, the envoy and former senator, said at a press conference held in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, about 90 km northwest of the capital Nairobi.

    The most recent positive accomplishment was the wealth sharing agreement which was signed last week, Danforth said.

    "Now we are in a situation where there are only about two major issues left to be resolved, the power sharing issue and the three disputed areas issue. I'm absolutely convinced that both sides want to achieve a positive resolve needed for a peace agreement for the Sudan," he said.

    The envoy disclosed that US President George W. Bush is very keenly involved personally with the issues of the Sudan.

    "I want to say publicly that our interest in the Sudan is sustained. It's been going on for a period of time. We want to be involved as the best we can, not only until this agreement, but thereafter as well," he said.

    Danforth arrived in Kenya late Tuesday at the direction of Bush to meet with various negotiating parties as the Sudan peace talks move into their final stages.

    He met with Kenyan special envoy and chief mediator to the talks Lazaro Sumbeiywo before holding separate meetings with Sudanese First Vice President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) leader John Garang to provide encouragement to the ongoing Sudan peace talks.

    Observers see Danforth's meeting with Sudan peace talks parties as an attempt by the US government to urge the parties to hammer out a comprehensive peace deal by the end of this month.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell also came to Kenya last October to bolster Sudan peace talks. Once they reach a comprehensive agreement, "President Bush would invite them to come to the White House" for a signing ceremony, Powell said.

    The Sudan civil war started as the SPLA took arms fighting for self-determination in the southern part of the country in 1983.

    The conflict has left some two million people dead, mostly through war-induced famine and disease.

    The Sudanese government and the SPLA began peace talks in July 2002 in Kenya, aimed at ending the longest civil war on the continent, under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a seven-member regional group in east Africa, consisting of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Eritrea, Somalia and the Sudan.

    Kenya is holding the current chairmanship of the IGAD ministerial sub-committee on the Sudan. Enditem by Yu Xinchao

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