Darfur Rebels Sign Pact with Sudanese Government

The Sudanese government and the biggest rebel group in Darfur sign an agreement designed to end three years of conflict in Sudan's troubled western region. Last-minute efforts to persuade two other rebel factions to accept the deal failed at peace talks in Nigeria.

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Here are some of the other stories we're following on the program. Of course, we're digging into the big story of the day: the surprise resignation of CIA Director Porter Goss. We'll have more on it later in the show, including reaction from the top Democrat at the House Intelligence Committee. And Congressman Patrick Kennedy says he will enter treatment for addiction to prescription pain medication. Kennedy crashed his car on Capitol Hill early Thursday morning. Just ahead, progress toward a peace accord for Darfur. We'll have that story, and we'll hear about a game meant to teach Americans about the crisis there. That's just ahead, on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris. The Sudanese government and the biggest rebel group in Darfur have signed a peace agreement designed to end three years of conflict in Sudan's troubled western region. But last minute efforts to persuade two other rebel groups to accept the deal failed. An estimated quarter of a million people have been killed, and more than two million left homeless by the violence in Darfur. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

A diplomatic push by the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick helped achieve the Darfur deal. The accord calls for a ceasefire and the disarmament of Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militiamen accused of some of the worst atrocities in Darfur. The settlement also agreed to integration of thousands of rebel fighters into the Sudanese army, as well as a protection force for civilians. But two, smaller rebel factions said the agreement didn't go far enough. Mohammed Tugod is the leader of the Darfur Rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Mr. MOHAMMED TUGOD (Representative, Darfur Rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)): I urge the international community, I urge the mediation and all the partners, to look focusedly, to look carefully on the package and try to address the real cause of the conflict.

wealth and power for the people of Darfur, as well as the rapid disarmament of the Janjaweed. The U.S. Deputy Secretary helped broker the deal signed by the Sudanese government, and the principal rebel faction. Earlier, Zoellick said he hoped that all the Darfur rebel movements could be persuaded to keep talking.

Mr. ROBERT ZOELLICK (Deputy Secretary of State): The people in Darfur need the leadership of the movements to seize an opportunity for peace, and they have an opportunity over the next few hours to agree to a package of changes that would strengthen the provisions that they had expressed concerns about.

implementation of the Darfur peace accord was crucial.

Secretary General KOFI ANNAN (United Nations): We should not imagine that that would mean the problem is solved. A great deal remains to be done to ensure that the people in Darfur can even survive, let alone return in safety to their homes and to growing their own food.

QUIST-ARCTON: Annan said U.N. peacekeepers must be sent to Darfur now, to help African troops there keep the peace. Until now, the Sudanese government has refused its permission. Annan warned that any delay could jeopardize the peace deal, and lead to more bloodshed in Darfur. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News.

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