"Nothing left to discuss" as Sudanese celebrate peace agreement

Jan. 1 (dpa)

Sudanese political parties and civil societies across the country staged celebrations Saturday after the signing of in Kenya of peace deals between the government and southern SPLA rebels, ending 21 years of hostilities.

First Vice President Ali Osman Mohammad Taha, the government's chief negotiator, said Sudanese should now brush aside political differences and work to consolidate peace and develop the country.

Taha insisted that the peace, signed on the eve of the New Year, was the last and final agreement.

"There is no single item or issue left for us to discuss on January 9," he said, referring to the date set by both sides to sign a comprehensive accord ending the civil war between south and north.

Addressing a huge gathering, Taha said next week's signign would be "only a celebration. It is a ceremony where we will invite leaders of international community to witness final peace in Sudan".

Work would already begin on January 9 to set up the legislative, executive and judicial institutions embodied in the agreement.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) - a body sponsoring the talks - the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), plus the government of Kenya, confirmed Friday that a signing ceremony would be held at State House Nairobi.

Taha warned Sudanese: "There is hard work ahead of you. This is the first step to unite the Sudanese people, but there are challenges of development and construction that they have to work for it."

The peace signed in Kenya had completed the cycle of nation building which was started 50 years ago when the country gained independence from Britain.

Taha urged all the political parties, civil societies, academics, and students unions to thoroughly discuss the content of the agreement.

"We have nothing to hide," he said. "The peace we signed is open to all. Go and discuss it everywhere. We have nothing to fear."