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UN, Southern Sudan set to begin talks on implementation of peace deal

9 August 2007 Senior United Nations officials will tomorrow hold their first round of high-level consultations with the Government of Southern Sudan to see how to better implement the January 2005 comprehensive peace agreement that ended the country’s protracted north-south war.

A delegation from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), headed by the Secretary-General’s Acting Special Representative Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, will travel to Juba in Southern Sudan for the talks, the Mission said in a news bulletin released today.

The meeting is being staged after the parties to the peace pact agreed in June to hold periodic consultations with UNMIS to review the agreement’s implementation.

Under that accord, which ended a 21-year civil war, the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) was brought into a new Government of National Unity, and a Government of Southern Sudan was also established.

UNMIS said the consultations will take place regularly so that all sides can assess common objectives and concerns. Talks with the Sudanese Government leadership are scheduled for later this month in the capital, Khartoum.

Earlier this year, in a report to the Security Council on the situation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the comprehensive peace agreement had reached a delicate stage, “at which either the point of departure or the destination could easily be lost.”

Mr. Ban said the full and verified redeployment this year of the forces of both sides was critical to the deal’s chances of long-term success, and he called on the Sudanese Government and the SPLM/A to do everything within their power to redeploy forces as required and to work towards the holding of free and fair mid-term elections in 2009.

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