Sudanese Rebels End Boycott of Peace Talks

Published June 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The main rebel group in Sudan has said it will end a six-week boycott of peace talks it began after accusing the government of bombing civilian targets in the south. 

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) said in statement obtained by AFP on Tuesday that its leadership council met on Friday and decided that the violations that precipitated its decision to suspend participation in peace talks had ended. 

The SPLA announced the boycott on May 8, complaining that Khartoum was carrying out indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets in southern Sudan and encouraging pro-government militias to go on slave capturing raids in the area. 

It also demanded that the international community condemn the bombing of civilian targets. 

"These conditions have been fulfilled because since May 8, 2000, the GOS (Government of Sudan) has only bombed military targets during military operations but not civilian targets as it used to do," the statement said. 

"We have also noted with satisfaction that the international community has responded to our call by bringing sufficient pressure to bear on the GOS to desist from the inexcusable practice of indiscriminate bombing," it added. 

The SPLA has been in fruitless negotiations with Khartoum since 1993 in talks sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a group of seven east African nations. 

The civil war pitting the government against rebels is set against a background of resistance by the mainly animist and Christian south to the Islamic regime in Khartoum. 

But since 1983, control over resources, including humanitarian aid, has taken an increasingly important role in the conflict -- NAIROBI (AFP)  

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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