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AU says peace talks between Sudanese rivals to resume on Aug. 8

KHARTOUM, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Tuesday announced the resumption of peace talks between Sudan government, the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)/northern sector, the Darfur armed movements and opposition alliance in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Aug. 8.

"The Ethiopian capital will witness next week meetings of the AU mediation with the the opposition Sudan Call (an alliance bringing together Sudanese armed groups and opposition parties) to be followed by resumption of negotiations between the government and the armed movements on Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions," Mahmoud Kan, chairman of the AU liaison office in Khartoum, told reporters.

"Head of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) Thabo Mbeki has extended the invitation to the concerned parties for meetings in Addis Ababa, to begin as of Aug. 8 and last until Aug. 11," he added.

He said the first meeting would be held on Aug. 8 with the opposition to sign the road-map agreement, to be followed by the resumption of the talks on cessation of hostilities and delivery of the humanitarian assistance directly after the signing of the road-map as of Aug. 9 until Aug. 11.

Last March, the AUHIP proposed a road-map agreement for the Sudanese rivals, stipulating arrangements related to cease-fire at South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur regions, entering a peace process and involving the armed movements in the national dialogue currently convened in Khartoum.

The Sudanese government unilaterally signed the road-map agreement, while the SPLM/northern sector, the Darfur rebel movements and the opposition alliance refused to sign the deal.

The AU has been patronizing the negotiations between the Sudanese government and the SPLM/northern sector to reach a settlement for the conflict in those two areas, but the two sides failed to achieve any progress in the last rounds of talks.

South Kordofan State includes most of the Sudanese oil reserve, while the Blue Nile state enjoys a strategic geographical location and is rich of natural resources. It is also home to Al-Rusaires, the biggest electricity dam in Sudan.

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