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Sudan's transitional government signs landmark deal with rebel groups

The historic deal signed in Juba could end decades of conflict that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives in western and southern Sudan
Paramilitary leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, pictured in August 2020, signed the deal on behalf of the Sudanese government in Juba, South Sudan (AFP)

Sudan's government and rebel groups signed a landmark peace deal on Saturday that aimed to end decades of war that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives. 

Representatives from Sudan's transitional government and rebel groups signed the deal, a year after peace talks began, at a ceremony in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. 

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"Today we have reached a peace agreement. We are happy. We have finished the mission," said Tut Gatluak, head of the South Sudan mediation team.

Ending internal conflicts had been a top priority for the transitional government after it had taken control of Sudan following the removal of former President Omar al-Bashir. 

Sudan's military commander and the leader of the notorious Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better know as Hemeti, signed the deal on behalf of the Sudanese government. 

A representative of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and representatives from other rebel groups participated in the historic deal. 

The SRF comprises of rebel groups from the Darfur region and the southern states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. 

Major obstacles ahead

This latest deal covers a range of issues, including land ownership, reparations, power sharing and return of refugees and internally displaced people. 

Two other powerful rebel groups however did not sign the agreement. 

During the ceremony, the head of Sudan's transitional government, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, said: "Peace will open broad horizons for development, progress and prosperity."

Meanwhile, Mini Arko Minawi, the head of the Sudan Liberation Movement, which is a member of the SRF, said Sudan's troubled economy and "fragile political situation" were major obstacles that would test the agreement.