UNITED NATIONS, Nov 18: Warning that "there is no time to waste" in ending Sudan's 'long nightmare' of civil wars, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday urged the Security Council meeting symbolically in Africa to give the final impetus to peace talks in the south while addressing 'the terrible situation' in the west of the continent's largest nation.

"For far too long war has inflicted misery and untold human suffering on Sudan, distorting the allocation of scarce resources, discouraging foreign aid, and scaring away both Sudanese and foreign investors," Mr Annan said at the start of the two-day session in Nairobi, capital of neighbouring Kenya where peace talks between the Sudanese government and southern rebels have yet to be concluded despite significant progress.

"The effects of delay are felt not only in the south, but elsewhere too, as conflict spreads to more parts of the country. The devastating conflict in Darfur is glaring evidence of this," Mr Annan added, referring to fighting and massacres in the vast western region which the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

He said it was high time to conclude the peace talks that have been taking place in Naivasha, Kenya, between the Khartoum government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and army.

"I am confident that you will, in your collective and your private discussions with Vice-President Ali Othman Taha and (SPLM leader) Dr John Garang, and in the resolution that you will be adopting on Sudan, encourage the parties to sign a comprehensive peace agreement before the end of the year," Mr Annan declared.

"And I particularly welcome the Council's promise of full support for the implementation of such an agreement, and its offer of incentives to encourage the parties to do what is right for their people and country."

UN members agree on draft resolution

NAIROBI: United Nations ambassadors on Thursday evening agreed here unanimously on the text of a resolution aimed at restoring peace to Sudan, as the country's main foes promised to conclude talks on their 21-year-old conflict by the end of the year.-AFP

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