The Sudanese government and the main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement, pledged November 19 to stop a decades-old civil war by the end of 2004.
All 15 envoys on the United Nations Security Council signed the agreement as witnesses at the meeting in Nairobi, including Ambassador John Danforth of the United States. Danforth, the council's president for November, initiated the first Security Council meeting outside New York in 14 years.
The council promised political support and economic aid, including "possible" debt relief, but left the amount unspecified. Sudanese officials have said it could take $1.8 billion to implement the peace accords. Negotiations took three years.
"It's up to you to prove the naysayers and skeptics wrong," Danforth, who has worked as a special envoy to end the Sudanese civil war, told the warring sides. "The violence and atrocities being perpetuated must end."
The 21-year war in the south, pitting the Muslim-dominated government in Khartoum against mostly Christian and animist rebels in the south, has claimed some 2 million lives.
It has also prompted the formation of a strong international religious lobby, including liberal and evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Muslims, and Jews pressing the international community on the issue.
The separate conflict in the country's Darfur region also received attention. That conflict, which began in February 2003, pits non-Arab Muslim groups against the government and Arab militias. It has left 1.8 million people displaced and around 70,000 dead.
The United Nations called the Darfur conflict the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The U.S. Congress and some human- rights and aid groups have labeled the violence genocide.
On Darfur, the council demanded the government and all armed groups "immediately cease all violence and attacks refrain from forcible relocation of civilians, cooperate with international humanitarian relief and monitoring efforts and allow unhindered access and passage by humanitarian agencies and those in their employ."
Some critics called the wording toothless because there is no enforcement mechanism.
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News elsewhere on the conference includes:
Sudan Agreement Endorsed by US Officials at UN | The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, says the recently signed peace memorandum between the government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement offers the best hope to end the humanitarian crisis and bring peace in Darfur, in the western part of country. (Voice of America, Dec. 3, 2004)
Final round of Sudan peace talks opens in Kenya | Representatives of the Sudanese government and main southern rebel group on Friday opened in Kenya what is meant to be a final round of talks to clinch a comprehensive deal to end Africa's longest-running civil war. (Daily Star, Lebanon, Nov 26, 2004)
U.S. ambassador upbraids UN over inaction on Sudan | John Danforth, the U.S. ambassador, has assailed the UN General Assembly, saying its decision to avoid voting on a resolution denouncing human rights violations in Sudan called into question the purpose of the Assembly. (International Herald Tribune, France, Nov 24, 2004)
Sudanese war victim addresses UN Security Council | "Wherever I have been people ask me if I have seen their family members, if I have seen their son, their daughter, father, mother. Everywhere I go." (Reuters, Nov 19, 2004)
UN Security Council begins Nairobi session | The United Nations Security Council has opened an extraordinary two-day session in Nairobi, the first outside its New York headquarters in 14 years, with war-ravaged Sudan topping the agenda. (AFP, November 18, 2004)
U.N. Security Council to Discuss Sudan | U.N. Security Council Meets in Kenya to Discuss Sudan's Civil Wars (Associated Press, Nov 18, 2004)
UN Security Council in Africa to Push Sudan Peace | Staking its prestige on Sudan's troubled peace process, the U.N. Security Council met away from its New York home for the first time in 14 years on Thursday to try to end two decades of war in Africa's biggest country. (Reuters, Nov 18, 2004)
Other Christianity Today articles on the crisis in Sudan includes:
A False Cry of Peace | Wilfred Mlay, World Vision's regional vice president for Africa, discusses the crisis facing black Muslims in Darfur. (Sept. 09, 2004)
Never Again? | Genocide in Sudan tests our commitment to justice. (Aug. 03, 2004)
Sudden Death in Darfur | John Danforth, new U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, demands Sudan stop murderous Arab militias (July 16, 2004)
Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, and Plain Old Murder | What Tony Campolo and the State Department mean in recent comments about Palestine and Sudan. (June 23, 2004)
Freedom for Sudanese Faith | With new peace accord signed, Christians prepare to meet needs (July 12, 2004)
Ambassador: Sudan Accords Only One Step in Peace Process | Continued effort to implement and monitor Sudan's peace agreement will be necessary to ensure safety for its population, Michael Ranneberger says. (June 04, 2004)
Hope, Caution Follow Signing of Sudanese Peace Agreement | After 21 years of civil war, Sudan may finally be on the verge of peace. But don't stop praying. (June 04, 2004)
Submitting to Islamor Dying | Ceasefires and peace talks bow to greater powers in Sudan (Oct. 8, 2003)
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