KHARTOUM, Sudan, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The Sudanese government and a rebel faction in Darfur signed a cease-fire agreement to advance the peace process, the U.N-African Union mediator said Monday.
"This is a major breakthrough in the road toward a comprehensive and lasting peace accord in Darfur," Aichatou Mindaoudou said in a release.
The Sudanese government, represented by State Minister Amin Hassan Omer, signed the pact with Arko Sulaiman Dahiya, vice chairman and the lead delegate from the Justice and Equality Movement rebel group Sunday in Doha, Qatar.
The agreement lays the foundation to begin negotiations on issues, such as power- and wealth-sharing, as well as the return of internally displaced persons and refugees, Mindaoudou said.
Cease-fire negotiations began last month in Qatar under parameters listed in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, the basis for a permanent cease-fire and comprehensive peace agreement to end the fighting in Darfur that began a decade ago.
JEM is the second rebel group to commit to the Doha document. The Liberation and Justice Movement signed it last year.
"The road to peace is challenging and needs a great deal of resolve, perseverance and concessions from both sides," Mindaoudou said, stressing her commitment to keep working with all parties to achieve comprehensive peace in Darfur.