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US fears threats to peace process in Sudan

The United States fears that attacks in Darfur and an impasse in implementation of a peace agreement in southern Sudan threaten peace efforts throughout the embattled North African country.

In a statement discussing Sudan’s new pitfalls to peace on Friday night, US State Department deputy spokesperson Tom Casey urged both the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Sudanese government to back away from recent hostile moves.

He also urged harder work to implement the two-year-old peace agreement that has been viewed as the best chance to end the two-decades-long north-south civil war.

The rebel SPLM accused the central government on Thursday of failing to abide by the peace agreement and suspended its participation in the government.

In his statement, Casey said the US urged the governing National Congress Party and the SPLM ”to refrain from violence, immediately withdraw their armed forces along the north-south border in accordance with the comprehensive peace agreement, and redouble their efforts to fully implement the agreement in good faith and adhere to ceasefires”.

As for Darfur, Casey said peace will come only through full implementation of a tentative peace agreement and new negotiations this month in Libya.

He said government and rebel factions from the western Sudan region should ”focus their energies on readying themselves for peace negotiations, beginning in Libya on October 27.

”We continue our efforts to support humanitarian assistance, the full and rapid deployment of the [United Nations-supported] peacekeeping force and the UN-led political process,” Casey said. — Sapa-AP

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