(BBC) - Khartoum: In a move which could end the worst political crisis to hit Sudan in years, the country's former foes have agreed on a time table to implement a 2005 peace deal.
The announcement, made by First Vice President Salva Kiir on Sunday has raised hopes that ministers from the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement's (SPLM) will soon return to the national coalition government - the group left the partnership in protest last month.
"The Presidency ... approved a number of principles on which basis presidential decrees will be issued to authorise a timetable and mechanisms of implementation which will resolve all the issues," Kiir's statement, read by his press attache, said.
Sudan's north-south deal ended Africa's longest civil war which claimed 2 million lives and drove 4 million from their homes, but the SPLM said they were frustrated at the lack of progress to implement key parts of the peace deal, including withdrawing northern forces from southern oil fields and demarcating the north-south border.
Kiir said the SPLM was not building up its troops along the north-south border as reported by Khartoum's press, but said the northern army were ready for battle.
"Since July they (the northern army) have been in a state of readiness ... probably because they expected the SPLM to attack them," said Kiir. The northern troops were supposed to withdraw by July 9 this year according to the deal. Kiir said southern soldiers remained in their camps.
Peace talks that took place in Libya on October 27 were unsuccessful as none of the main rebel factions attended. The rebels said that until the SPLM returned to the coalition the government was not legal whilst others said they would not negotitate an accord with the NCP until the north-south deal was implemented.