Peace talks between the southern rebels and the Govt. made substantial progress in 2003 and early 2004, although skirmishes in parts of the south have reportedly continued. The two sides have agreed that, following a final peace treaty, southern Sudan will enjoy autonomy for six years , and after the expiration of that period, the people of Southern Sudan will be able to vote in a referendomon independence. Furthermore, oil revenues will be diveded equally between the Govt. and the rebelsduring the six-yea interim period.The ability or willingness of the Govt.to fulfill these promises has been questioned ny some observers, however, and the status of three central and eastern provinces was a point of contention in the negotiations.Some observers wondered whether hard line elements in the north would allow the treaty to proceed.
A comprehensive peace agreement will was signed on 9 January 2005 in Nairobi. The terms of the peace treaty are as follows :
1. The south will have autonomy for 6 years, followed by a referendum on secession.
2. Both sids of the conflict will merge their armed forces into a 39,000 strong force after six years , if the secession referendum turn out negative.
3. Income from oilfield to be shared 50-50 by the both parties.
4. Jobs are to be split accordingto varying ratios (central administration 70-30, Abyei/Blue Nile?Nuba mountains 55 to 45, both in favour of the Govt.)