Associated Press

April 14, 1997

Jimmy Carter Urges Sudan Peace Plan

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is resuming efforts to negotiate a peace accord between Sudan's embattled Islamic government and rebels who control much of the south.

``He will try to be helpful in solving the Sudanese conflict,'' said a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. ``This is part of his efforts to resolve the crisis.''

For the first time since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan is facing the real possibility of secession by its impoverished southern provinces, as rebels advance towards the regional capital of Juba.

Efforts by Sudan's Islamic government -- which is accused by the United States of supporting terrorism -- to inflict a military defeat on the Christians and animists in the south have been unsuccessful.

Two years ago, Carter succeeded in negotiating a brief cease-fire between the two sides.

He is planning to travel to the region again on Friday, accompanied by his wife Rosalynn and a staff aid, the U.S. official said.

Carter will first visit Khartoum to meet with Sudan's president, Lt. Gen. Omar el-Bashir, and will then proceed south for talks with chief rebel leader John Garang.