The Sudanese government and a major rebel group have signed a declaration of principles that calls for freedom of religion and cultural seeidentity in a democratic state.

The agreement also seeks to separate religion and the state.

“No religion shall be imposed on anyone and the state shall not adopt any official religion,” the signed document stated.

The agreement was signed with the SPLM-North, a predominantly Christian rebel group that operates in the Nuba Mountains.

SPLM-North is one of the two groups that had refused to join most of the other rebel factions that signed a peace settlement with Sudan’s new government following the overthrow of former President Gen Omar al-Bashir.

This new development is viewed as a crucial step in efforts by the power-sharing government to end decades of conflict with a wide range of rebel factions.