Progress reported at peace talks

10 September (IRIN)

Make-or-break talks between Sudan's rebel leader, John Garang, and Vice President, Ali Osman Taha, aimed at breaking the deadlock in the Sudanese peace process are making progress, sources close to the negotiations told IRIN.

The source said both sides were finalising the details of a security deal and that the Sudanese Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bakri Hassan Salih, and
other military personnel were expected to arrive soon in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, to take part in the negotiations.

He said once a deal on security arrangements - for the six-and-a-half-year interim period following the signing of a comprehensive peace deal - was
reached, things would "move forward". "If we agree on security we will not have problems with other areas," he said.

Key security issues include the size, makeup and structure of a national army, whether the SPLA will be encorporated into that army or remain
separate, and where the forces will be deployed.

Preliminary discussions had also taken place about the three contested areas of Southern Blue Nile, Abyei and the Nuba mountains, as well as
power-sharing arrangements but had not yielded any results, sources said.

The peace process stalled in July when the government rejected a draft framework peace agreement, put forward by the IGAD negotiators, on the
basis that it favoured the SPLM/A.

Speaking last week to journalists, Garang said the rejection was "threatening the whole IGAD peace process with collapse". He said "we are
going to Naivasha to save the process from collapsing, to resolve the deadlock."