Sudan's government has signed a political declaration with rebels, calling it a major step toward ending years of civil war. A nationwide cease-fire was also extended as part of efforts to create a lasting peace.
Sudan's new government and major rebel groups have signed a declaration opening the door for further political talks while also renewing a cease-fire for three months, all part of efforts to end the country's yearslong civil wars.
"The political declaration will pave the way for political negotiations and is a step toward a just, comprehensive and final peace in Sudan," said General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo on Monday. Daglo is a key figure in the transitional government that is tasked with transitioning to civilian rule after the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April.
The Khartoum administration also agreed to let aid into war-torn areas including Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile regions, which were cut off from humanitarian groups during al-Bashir's rule.
'Anchored on peace'
The peace talks, which began last week, have been held in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, after South Sudanese President Salva Kiir offered to mediate.
South Sudan gained independence from its northern neighbor in 2011 after years of fighting and is now struggling to quell its own civil war.
Rebels involved in the talks fought al-Bashir's forces for many years in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. One of the groups, the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), called the agreement in Juba a good step.
"Peace is a very strategic goal for us. The transformation of Sudan is anchored on peace," Hedi Idriss Yahia, who represented the SRF at the signing, told Agence France-Presse.
Separately, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Khartoum and other Sudanese cities to call for al-Bashir's party to be disbanded.
Al-Bashir used the party to control the country for 30 years in autocratic fashion before he was ousted amid mass unrest in April.
Protesters also renewed calls for an independent investigation into the clearing of a protest camp by security forces in June. The protest movement says more than 100 people were killed in the pre-dawn raid.