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Khartoum welcomes South Sudan peace deal

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Khartoum on Saturday welcomed a peace deal reached to end five months of war between the government and rebels in neighbouring South Sudan.

The foreign ministry affirmed Sudan's "welcome and support" for the agreement between the South's President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, the official SUNA news agency said.

The deal is important not only for Sudan but for the region, said ministry spokesman Abubakr al-Siddiq.

"Sudan is ready to offer any support that can help in the implementation of this agreement," he said, quoted by SUNA.

Through the East African regional block IGAD, Sudan has been part of efforts to find a peaceful settlement in the South.

A ceasefire was due to come into effect on Saturday after Kiir and Machar shook hands in the Ethiopian capital to reach a deal on Friday.

The South separated from Khartoum's jurisdiction three years ago under a 2005 peace deal that ended 23 years of civil war.

But the newly-independent South plunged into its own war on December 15, in what started as a personal rivalry between Kiir and his sacked vice-president Machar.

Thousands and possibly tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.2 million more forced to flee their homes.

The United Nations says in excess of 67,000 South Sudanese have crossed into Sudan because of the fighting.

"People arriving in Sudan tend to come with few if any possessions, having either sold them or had them stolen during flight. Children are arriving with malnutrition rates over the emergency threshold," the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its latest weekly bulletin issued Thursday.

Oil flowing from southern fields through Sudan for export is worth billions of dollars to both economies, but production has been cut since war began in South Sudan.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140510/khartoum-welcomes-south-sudan-peace-deal-0