By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan (AA) – Sudanese government and several rebel groups on Monday signed a political declaration that will pave the way for a peace agreement.
They also agreed to cease hostilities, a move that will allow for the smooth delivery of food to poverty-stricken regions of Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.
El-Hadi Idris Mustafa, chairman of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, an alliance of rebel groups, said they are committed to the peace efforts.
“There is a political will from Sudan's government and all opposition groups to bring conflict to an end in Sudan,” Idris said, during signing of the declaration in Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
He said conflict will end in Sudan by the end of this year and 2020 will be a year of peace.
He urged the African Union to support the peace initiative.
"Peace is the ultimate goal of the government of Sudan," Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, a leading member of Sudan's transitional government, said after signing the deal.
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit said that he wants to see Sudan and South Sudan emerge stronger from the conflict.
“If you have won your people's hearts you can solve everything,” he said.
Peace talks have been going on between the Sudanese government and major rebel groups for the past week in Juba.
Sudan is being led by a transitional government after a coup in April overthrew longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir after months of deadly protests.