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The Sudanese government and the main rebel group, the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement, pledged November 19 to stop a decades-old civil war by the end of 2004.

All 15 envoys on the United Nations Security Council signed the agreement as witnesses at the meeting in Nairobi, including Ambassador John Danforth of the United States. Danforth, the council's president for November, initiated the first Security Council meeting outside New York in 14 years.

The council promised political support and economic aid, including "possible" debt relief, but left the amount unspecified. Sudanese officials have said it could take $1.8 billion to implement the peace accords. Negotiations took three years.

"It's up to you to prove the naysayers and skeptics wrong," Danforth, who has worked as a special envoy to end the Sudanese civil war, told the warring sides. "The violence and atrocities being perpetuated must end."

The 21-year war in the south, pitting the Muslim-dominated government in Khartoum against mostly Christian and animist rebels in the south, has claimed some 2 million lives.

It has also prompted the formation of a strong international religious lobby, including liberal and evangelical Protestants, Roman Catholics, Muslims, and Jews pressing the international community on the issue.

The separate conflict in the country's Darfur region also received attention. That conflict, which began in February 2003, pits non-Arab Muslim groups against the government and Arab militias. It has left 1.8 million people displaced and around 70,000 dead.

The United Nations called the Darfur conflict the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The U.S. Congress and some human- rights and aid groups have labeled the violence genocide.

On Darfur, the council ...

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January 2005

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