Sudan's transitional government has signed a long-awaited peace agreement with a coalition of armed groups. The deal raises hopes of an end to decadeslong civil wars -- but not all rebel groups are on board.
Officials from Sudan's transitional government on Monday signed a peace agreement with the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of several armed groups, after nine months of tough negotiations.
The deal with the SRF was signed by Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and the chairman of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, during a televised ceremony in the South Sudanese capital, Juba. The signing took place under the auspices of South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir, who played a large role in mediating the agreement.
The pact foresees power sharing, compensation and reconciliation measures. It also contains agreements on allowing people displaced by 17 years of conflict to return home.
'The start of peace-building'
Among other things, the provinces of Blue Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan will be granteed self-rule, according to a draft of the agreement seen by The Associated Press.
After the signing, Hamdok called the deal a "great work" and "the start of peace-building."
An SRF representative said the coalition hoped the deal would end the suffering of Sudan's people.
In a joint statement, Norway, Britain and the US hailed the agreement as an "an important step in restoring security, dignity and development to the population of Sudan's conflict-affected and marginalized areas."
Elusive final goal
Sudan's transitional government, which came to power after President Omar al-Bashir was ousted in April 2019 by the military amid an uprising, has made ending rebellions in the country's provinces a key goal. Among other things, it aims to use cuts in current military spending to boost the country's ailing economy.
But other groups, including the largest single one, the Sudan Liberation Movement-North, have yet to reach a deal, while another major group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Army, rejects the transitional government as a legitimate entity,
Sudan's civil conflicts, which have wracked the country since 2003, when unrest broke out in the Darfur region, have killed some 300,000 people and displaced millions, according to the United Nations.