The Sudanese government and Darfur's most powerful rebel group signed a framework pact Tuesday for future peace negotiations, but declined to agree on a cease-fire after a week of talks. The deal, worked out in negotiations in Qatar, laid the groundwork for a second round of talks that would address core problems in the six-year conflict. The sides also agreed, in principle, to exchange prisoners.
"I would like to emphasize that the (next round of) negotiations will be comprehensive and will target the core of the problem," said rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim, according to the AP. "God willing, there is a genuine desire to reach a comprehensive and just solution to this war and to prevent the outbreak of another war."
As a sign of goodwill, Ibrahim said the Justice and Equality Movement would release some government troops it has captured.
The chief U.N.-African Union mediator in the talks, Djibril Bassole, said the rebels also sought the release of some of its members held in government prisons during the talks. The second round of negotiations between the sides will take place in two weeks in Qatar's capital, Doha, said Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani. According to him, the other groups among Darfur's numerous rebel factions were welcome to join the peace effort.