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Warring sides in South Sudan close to signing cease-fire deal; army retakes rebel-held city

JUBA, South Sudan — Leaders for warring sides in South Sudan’s monthlong internal conflict say they are close to signing a cease-fire.

A military spokesman, meanwhile, said army forces retook the key city of Bor Saturday, defeating 15,000 rebels.

In Ethiopia, where talks are taking place, rebel negotiator Mabior de Garang said he hopes the agreement will be signed Saturday night.

Garang said the agreement calls for a cease-fire and for the release of political detainees.

In Juba, the capital of South Sudan, presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said he believes a cease fire will be signed Sunday or Monday. He said the release of detainees is not part of the cease-fire deal.

Fighting broke out Dec. 15 and spread throughout the country after whole army units defected. Thousands are believed dead.

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