15 June 2003

Sudan's civil war near an end?

Could the nearly two-decade-old civil war in Sudan be coming to an end? Like the war in Congo, this one too has not exactly been at the top of the headlines in the western press, but it has killed nearly 2 million people, particularly in the predominantly christian and animist south. However, this report in today's Telegraph offers some hope: "End of 19-year Sudan civil war in sight." Here are the terms of the deal between the two sides:

The breakthrough came after five weeks of talks in Kenya, in which the government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement agreed to a six-year transition period culminating in a referendum offering Christians and animists in the south independence from the Muslim-dominated north.

Khartoum abandoned its stance on imposing universal sharia law, promising to guarantee southerners freedom of religion. "The two sticking issues to be resolved, the main causes of this war, have been addressed," said Samson Qwaje, the SPLM spokesman.

Because most southerners in that country are fellow believers in Christ, most of the publicity concerning the conflict has come from christian organizations, such as the Religious Liberty Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance and Voice of the Martyrs. Pray that peace -- a just peace -- will at last return to this troubled land.

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