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Sudan signs historic peace deal with 5 rebel groups to end fighting

Sudanese citizens celebrate in the streets of Khartoum, Sudan, on July 5, 2019, after the military council reached an agreement with opposition leaders to share power in the new government. Monday, the government agreed to a peace proposal with several rebel factions to end decades of fighting. File Photo by Marwan Ali/EPA-EFE
Sudanese citizens celebrate in the streets of Khartoum, Sudan, on July 5, 2019, after the military council reached an agreement with opposition leaders to share power in the new government. Monday, the government agreed to a peace proposal with several rebel factions to end decades of fighting. File Photo by Marwan Ali/EPA-EFE

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The transitional government in Sudan agreed Monday to sign a historic peace agreement with five major rebel groups in a major step to end violent conflicts stemming from the leadership of former dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The power-sharing government signed the deal in Juba, which provides the rebels with political representation and economic and land rights.

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Supporters hope the agreement will help heal Sudan after years of fighting under al-Bashir, who was removed from power more than a year ago. He is wanted for war crimes during the Darfur conflict in 2003 and is on trial for the 1989 coup that put him in power.

Hundreds of thousands died in fighting in Darfur in the early 2000s. The Christian-majority south eventually split from Muslim-majority Sudan in 2011 following a civil war.

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Not all opposition groups, however, have reached an agreement with the government.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North has balked at the prospect of involving Darfur warlord Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo in the new government and part of the Sudan Liberation Army, led by Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur, is also holding out.

High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell said the bloc is supportive of the pact.

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"This is the time for all Sudanese stakeholders to set aside their differences and to look for the greater good of the country and of all Sudanese," Borrell said in a statement. "The EU remains committed to supporting the historic Sudanese transition."

In a statement, the United States, Britain and Norway said they welcome the agreement while calling on the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North and Al-Nur to engage in serious negotiations with the government to establish a comprehensive peace agreement.

"All Sudanese have the right to live in peace and enjoy the same privileges and responsibilities," the three countries said in the Troika statement. "Only a fully inclusive national process can address fundamental questions relating to the identity of the state."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Sudan last week to support the transitional government.

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