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Sudanese peace in jeopardy?

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 (UPI) -- Elements of a 2005 comprehensive peace agreement that ended the civil war in Sudan might not get settled before South Sudan's independence, an expert warned.

A 2005 peace deal gave South Sudan the right to vote for independence. Issues in the deal like border demarcation and the sharing of natural resources remain unsettled, however.

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Atul Khare, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping operations, told the Security Council that progress was slow on implementing key provisions of the 2005 comprehensive peace deal.

He said the situation in the disputed region of Abyei and internal tensions in the south were getting in the way of broad reconciliation.

"Due to these disagreements, there is a possibility that the residual comprehensive peace agreement issues will not be solved and/or that the post-referendum negotiations will not be concluded by July 9 (when South Sudan becomes independent)," he said in a statement.

Skirmishes between South Sudan's official military force and a breakaway general are fracturing the unity of the southern state.

"The government of Southern Sudan will need to take concrete measures to address ethnic tensions, mismanagement, political and social marginalization, economic development and governance, especially in rule of law institutions," added Khare.

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