Sudanese government and nine rebel groups signed an agreement on a roadmap towards ending the protracted conflict in the Darfur region.
The deal outlines different issues the parties will need to negotiate during the latest round of talks in Juba.
“We believe this is an important step,” said Ahmed Mohamed, the chief negotiator on Darfur matters from the Sudan Revolutionary Front or SRF, a coalition of nine rebel groups involved in talks with the Sudanese government.
“This step no doubt will help the process to achieve a lasting peace in Darfur and also it will enable the transitional process in Sudan to move smoothly without hindrances,” Mohamed told AFP.
Among the issues they agreed to be discussed are the root causes of the conflict, the return of refugees and internally displaced people, power sharing and the integration of rebel forces into the national army.
The deal also announces that the Sudanese government will address land issues, such as the issues of the destruction of property during the conflict.
Khartoum has been negotiating with different rebel groups in the capital of South Sudan for two weeks, in the latest round of efforts to end conflicts in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Rebels in these areas fought violent campaigns against marginalisation by Khartoum under ousted president Omar al-Bashir.
The Darfur fighting broke out in 2003 when ethnic minority rebels took up arms against Bashir’s Arab-dominated government.