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Elections in Sudan are critical step

KHARTOUM, Sudan, April 6 (UPI) -- The announced plans for holding national elections in Sudan are being praised by the head of the United Nations as an important step toward peace.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the announcement that Sudan will hold national elections in February 2010 is a positive step toward peace between the north and south of the country, which recently ended decades of civil war, the United Nations reported.

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Despite the ongoing violence in the Darfur region of western Sudan, where rebel groups and the Sudanese army continue an ongoing conflict, Ban called on leaders in all political groups to support and participate in the elections.

"The holding of nationwide elections is an important benchmark in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement," Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.

The elections "will further contribute to the consolidation of the ideals set out in the interim national constitution."

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