In-depth: 'Sudan: A future without War?'- IRIN In-Depth on the prospects of peace in Sudan

SUDAN: A future without war?

NAIROBI, 10 March 2004 (IRIN) - If signals coming out of talks in Chad and Kenya between Sudan's warring parties continue to be positive, lasting peace could be within reach for the first time in over two decades. Many now dare to hope that a war which has claimed the lives of at least two million people and forced millions of others from their homes may end within the foreseeable future.

Sudan's government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) have spent the last 18 months in the western Kenyan town of Naivasha discussing how to stop fighting and build peace in their country. They resumed their discussions on 17 February, in what analysts say could mark the last stage of peace negotiations and lead to the signing of a comprehensive agreement.

At the same time talks between the government and two other rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to resolve the crisis in the western Darfur region, have been going on in the Chadian capital, N'Djamena.

Both the talks in Kenya and in Chad are being watched keenly by the international community. As much attention, if not more, is being devoted to the situation in Darfur, where the deaths of innocent civilians, massive destruction and mass displacement have aroused widespread international concern.

This web special explores the issue of conflict in the Sudan. It takes an in-depth look at the situation in Darfur, where UN assessment teams are trying to determine the magnitude of one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, and across the border in Chad. Further, it reflects the perspectives of various actors in Sudan on prospects for lasting peace and provides an assessment, based on analyses and expert opinions from a wide range of sources, of what a resolution of armed conflict in Sudan would mean for its neighbours.