Reports from Sudan say the rebel Justice and Equality Movement and the government in
Khartoum have agreed to a ceasefire that could help end a seven-year insurgency that has left hundreds of thousands dead in the east African nation. The deal was reached Tuesday at a four-way summit in Qatar attended by JEM representatives and the leaders of Sudan, Qatar and Eritrea, according to Cable News Network (CNN). A permanent ceasefire is expected to be signed by March 15, Tahir al-Fati, chairman of the rebel movement's legislative assembly, told CNN. Qatar has been mediating negotiations to resolve the conflict, which began with the start of the insurgency in 2003, CNN said. Sudan's government launched a brutal counterinsurgency that killed thousands and displaced as many as 2.7 million residents. The brutality of the insurgency, aided by Arab militias, resulted in the International Criminal Court filing genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, CNN said. Those charges are still pending. The United Nations has reported that more than 300,000 people were killed in the conflict as a result of the fighting, disease and malnutrition, CNN said. Other participants at the summit were Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the emir of Kuwait; Idris Deby, the president of Chad, and Assais Afwerki, Eritrea's president.