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Preparations continue for UN peacekeeping deployment in southern Sudan

24 January 2005 The United Nations envoy for Sudan is continuing preparations for the deployment of a UN peace support mission in the south of the vast country to consolidate the recently signed peace agreement between the Government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).

Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Jan Pronk is now back in Khartoum, the national capital after meeting yesterday in Rumbeck, the provisional capital of southern Sudan, with SPLM/A Chairman John Garang.

Talks will continue with both sides to expedite deployment of the UN mission and keep up the momentum for peace. Earlier this month the two parties agreed to end the civil war that has left more than 2 million people dead and displaced nearly 4 million others since it began in 1983. The deal includes provisions on power-sharing, some autonomy for the south and more equitable distribution of economic resources, including oil.

Mr. Pronk earlier met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the Chairman of the African Union (AU) commission, Alpha Omar Konar, on UN-AU cooperation.

The two also discussed the situation in Sudan's western Darfur region, where tens of thousands of people have died and nearly 2 million have been uprooted in fighting between the Government, pro-government militias and rebels in a separate conflict.

The UN Advance Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) said today that several security incidents were reported last week in Darfur, including an attack by an armed group on an Arab convoy and clashes involving Government forces and armed tribesmen.

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