Sudan government agrees to extend Nuba Mountains ceasefire

June 15 (AFP)

Sudan decided Saturday to extend the Nuba Mountains ceasefire agreement due to expire in the next four days, said a high-ranking government official.

A mini-cabinet meeting, chaired by President Omar al-Beshir, renewed the Nuba Mountains ceasefire agreement for another six months as the current deal expires on June 19, presidential peace advisor Ghazi Salah Eddin Atabani told reporters.

Atabani hailed "the positive aspects in the application of the agreement" brokered by the United States to allow humanitarian supplies into the war-battered region.

The government signed the truce deal with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) on January 19. It was renewable on a six-month basis.

The region, with a 500,000 population, was seen as a test case for efforts to end the 19-year-old civil war in Sudan pitting successive Arab and Muslim governments in Khartoum against mainly Christian and animist southern rebels.

In other matters, Attabani said the government would negotiate "in sincerity and flexibility" during a new round of peace talks with the SPLA to start Monday under the stewardship of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional body comprising seven east African states.

He said the government was attending despite the SPLA's recent capture of the town of Kapoeta.

"This act will cast shadows on the negotiations," Atabani warned.