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TALKS AIM AT PUTTING END TO 18-YEAR CIVIL WAR

Ugandan officials and rebel commanders are negotiating the terms of a cease-fire deal that would open the way to political talks on ending an 18-year civil war in which thousands have been killed, the chief mediator said today.

Government representatives and commanders of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army are defining the duration of the proposed cease-fire and the area in northern Uganda that would be covered by the truce, Betty Bigombe said.

International observers, including diplomats based in the East African nation, are attending the first face-to-face talks between the warring sides in more than a decade, Bigombe said.

The warring sides are expected to sign a cease-fire deal at the end of truce talks near the border with neighboring Sudan, Bigombe said.

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