Sudan peace talks heading to deadlock

Feb. 26, 2004 at 11:48 AM
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KHARTOUM, Sudan, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Peace negotiations between the Sudanese government and separatist rebels are heading towards a deadlock due to a dispute over an oil-rich region.

A member of the government team negotiating with the Sudan People's Liberation Army led by John Garang said no progress was achieved in the new round of talks which started 10 days ago in the Kenyan city of Nivasha.

He said the two parties disagree on the future of the province of Abibi, which the SPLA wants to include in a post-transitional phase referendum to decide the fate of southern Sudan while the government insists the disputed region is part of Sudanese territory and cannot be comprised in the referendum.

The census which that follow a six-year transitional period will determine if the mainly Animist and Christian south will secede or remain part of Sudan, which has a Muslim majority.

Abibi is an oil rich region and produces a third of Sudan's current oil production of 300,000 barrels per day.

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