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Khartoum, Opposition Agree on Wide-ranging Issues

The Sudanese government and the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) agreed Sunday on wide-ranging issues after three rounds of talks held in Cairo since August, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported.

MENA said the two sides, which kicked off a third round of talks last Friday, are expected to sign a final agreement in February. Khartoum and the NDA agreed to form a joint committee to streamline the opposition group and its proxy troops to assimilate them into the country's legislative, executive and federal institutions, according to the agency.

Under the agreement, the NDA will also be represented in a national committee responsible for drafting the country's transitional constitution.

The two sides will set up a five-member committee to follow up the implementation of the agreement according to a specific timetable.

Khartoum and the NDA further agreed to lift the state of emergency imposed during the civil war, which was formally declared "dead" after the Sudanese government and the southern rebels signed the final peace agreement last Sunday. The agreement, signed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, culminated two years of negotiations to end the longest-running conflicts in Africa.

The two sides also said they are committed to solving the Darfur problem, another sour point in the country's western region. Conflicts in Darfur region, which flared up in February 2003 when two non-Arab rebel groups launched attacks on military targets, have created what the United Nations called the worst humanitarian situation in the world.

The NDA is an umbrella group which includes southern Sudanese rebels and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), one of the two main rebel groups in Darfur.

The Sudanese government and the NDA held a procedural session in Cairo in August and reached an agreement on holding direct talks with a set agenda.

A second round of talks between the two sides started on Oct.21, which were conducted through four committees covering constitutional, legal economic and political issues.

(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2005)

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Sudanese Gov't to Celebrate Final Peace Agreement
Sudan Handles Darfur Issue in Cautious Way
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