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Sudan protest leaders and rebel partners end rift over power-sharing deal

Three armed groups had argued the deal failed to address peace in the Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile war zones
Once a peace deal is finalised, sources said the rebel groups want to be part of the transitional government (UNAMID)

Sudanese protest leaders and their rebel partners have ended their differences over a power-sharing deal signed with the country's military rulers, vowing to work jointly for peace, a leading protest group said.

On 17 July, the umbrella protest movement signed a deal with Sudan's ruling generals that provides for a transitional civilian administration, the key demand of demonstrators.

But three armed groups who are members of the protest movement had objected to the deal, saying it failed to address peace in the war zones of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

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A group of protest leaders then flew to Addis Ababa for talks with the rebels, and after days of intense negotiations they reached an agreement that was announced on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported.

"This agreement has discussed the fundamental roots of war... and aims to reach a comprehensive peace accord with all armed groups," the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said on its Facebook page.

"The agreement paves the way for establishing comprehensive peace urgently once the transitional process for a civilian government begins."

The SPA, which had played a leading role in the protest movement, said the "Addis Ababa Declaration" aims to "speed up the forming of the transitional civilian government".

It said the three armed groups in the Sudan Revolutionary Front have "reconciled with the Alliance for Freedom and Change on the transitional government and connected peace-related issues with the process of transition".

The rebel groups also confirmed the differences they had with the protest leaders had ended.

"I think with this agreement we will be united, we will be stronger," rebel delegate Nuraddayim Taha told AFP in Addis Ababa.

'Constitutional Declaration'

The rebel groups had been fighting government forces of now ousted president Omar al-Bashir for years in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The protest leaders and generals are still to sign what is called the "Constitutional Declaration" to thrash out some outstanding issues.

The rebel groups had demanded that this accord specify that peace negotiations would be a top priorty for the new government.

Once a peace deal is finalised, sources said the rebel groups want their representatives to be part of the transitional government, AFP reported.