Last week, representatives of the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement signed a peace agreement to end Africa's longest-running civil war. More than 2 million have died and 4 million have been displaced because of the fighting. War has intermittently ravaged the country since its independence from the U.K. in 1956, due to northern Arab and Islamic dominance of the southern, black Christian and animist population. The current war began in 1983 when the Islamic government began imposing Shari'ah law in the south.

U.S. Ambassador Michael Ranneberger, Special Advisor for Sudan Policy, was in Naivasha for the signing ceremony last week. We spoke to him about the difficulty of the peace process and its future implementation

What does the peace treaty entail?

The Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army signed three protocols last week, which effectively concludes their substantive negotiations. They still have quite a few details to work out over the next couple of months before they sign the final peace accord. In Naivasha, they signed three agreements, one on power sharing, one on the disputed area of Abyei, and one on the disputed areas of Nuba and Southern Blue Nile.

Previously they had signed a protocol on security arrangements, a protocol on wealth sharing, and of course the Machakos protocol [which allowed for self-determination in the south]. Those six protocols together constitute a resolution of all the outstanding issues.

Last October, Secretary of State Colin Powell

said

he expected a peace agreement by the end of December. What have the sticking points been?

We've been pushing [the two sides] very hard, and we've been saying things like that to try and keep the momentum and ...

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