Sudan's longtime rebel leader John Garang has been killed in a helicopter crash, putting at risk efforts to reunite the country after more than 20 years of civil war.
However, both the Khartoum government and Mr. Garang's supporters in the south say they remain committed to peace.
President Omar el-Bashir announced the death of Mr. Garang, who was sworn in as Sudan's first vice president less than a month ago, during a triumphant ceremony in Khartoum.
Mr. Bashir pledged to uphold the spirirt of the accord he and Mr. Garang signed to end the civil war. In Nairobi, where the peace agreement was signed in January, the deputy chairman of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement promised work would continue toward Mr. Garang's "vision and objectives" for peace.
The 60-year-old, U.S.-educated rebel leader was returning from a visit to Uganda when his helicopter crashed in the mountains of southern Sudan. All 14 people aboard the aircraft died: Mr. Garang, six other Sudanese and seven Ugandan crew members.
The crash has been been blamed on bad weather. Mr. Garang had been in Kampala , the Ugandan capital, for talks with Ugandan President Moweri Museveni. He left for Sudan late Saturday aboard a helicopter from Mr. Museveni's personal fleet.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.