NAIROBI, Kenya -- The preliminary peace treaty signed Tuesday night between the most powerful rebel movement in Darfur and the Sudanese government is the culmination of a shift in regional politics that could help bring Darfur's sputtering conflict to an end, Sudan observers say.
But many are still skeptical.
Just look at the Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006, they say, or the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement later that year, or the unilateral cease-fire that the Sudanese government declared in Sirte, Libya, in 2007. None of these gestures, all heralded as potential "game changers" at the time, changed much.
Darfur, the enormous western region of Sudan, is still home to roving militias, burned-down villages and nearly three million displaced people. If anything has reduced the conflict's intensity, it seems, it is the fragmentation among rebels and sheer fatigue, not the previous peace deals.
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