Wealth deal finalized, power deal not yet, says Sudanese rebels

Oct. 28, 2003 (dpa)

Negotiators for Sudan's government and opposition rebels have reached agreement on dividing revenue from the country's oil reserves, a high-level source in the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) said Monday.

Under the agreement, 60 per cent of the oil wealth will go to South Sudan and 40 per cent will go to the North, the source, who requested anonymity, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The source, speaking by telephone from Kenya, said the oil revenue would help rehabilitate the South and help it realize a development balance that puts an end to the marginalization of the South and the three contested zones.

Peace talks in the Kenyan lakeside town of Naivasha intended to bring a lasting solution to 20 years of civil war between the Christian South and Moslem North adjourned until November 30.

Negotiators for Sudan's government and opposition rebels pledged last week to reach a full-fledged peace deal by the end of the year. The pledge came during U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Kenya. The two sides agreed to stay at the site of their ongoing peace talks until they reach an agreement. Once that happens, U.S. President George Bush will invite the two sides to Washington to give his stamp of approval, Powell said.

Negotiators also discussed the division of power, the source said. The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), the political wing of the SPLA, proposed a rotating presidency. The first term would last three years and three months and would be served by President Omer Hassan El Beshir. The second term would be served by SPLM leader John Garang.

According to the source, the government objected to this proposal, saying it wants El Beshir to assume the presidency throughout the interim period, to be assisted by two vice presidents or one vice president. The position of prime minister also would be created.

Mediators proposed one vice president, but with greater powers, including the power to restrain the president from taking a decision detrimental to the peace agreement, the source said.

The source added that the mediators proposed dividing the public establishments at the ratio of 40 per cent to 60 per cent between the North and South, respectively.

Concerning the three zones, the SPLA said the government concurred with a proposal to annex Abyei, a contested area, to Bahr Al Ghazal state, provided the future interim government issues an administrative decree to that effect.

However, the source said the rebels insisted on issuing the decree to annexing Abyei immediately after the peace agreement.