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White House applauds efforts for peace in Sudan, Diplomats say

The White House applauded Wednesday efforts to quell violence in Sudan that has erupted ahead of independence for the south and has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes.

The Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed an agreement Monday that allows U.N. peacekeepers in the disputed region of Abyei. The two sides agreed in principle on the need for a third party to monitor the ill-defined border between north and south before the scheduled July 9 independence for the south.

"I commend the parties for taking this step forward toward peace, and I urge them now to build on that progress and agree to an immediate cease-fire in Southern Kordofan," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in a statement Wednesday.

Ethiopia will deploy a brigade of 3,200 troops to Abyei after both north and south withdraw their forces from the region, said Dina Mufti, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman.

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