(CNN) -- Sudan's second most powerful official -- who was the man who signed a 2005 peace deal ending the country's decades-long civil war -- has resigned, the African nation's president said Saturday, according to state media.
First Vice President Ali Osman Taha is leaving his post as part of a reshuffle of President Omar al-Bashir's Cabinet, the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported. He is doing so "voluntarily," according to al-Bashir.
Taha has long been associated with, and been a fervent backer of, al-Bashir. He served as Sudan's chief negotiator during north-south peace talks in 2004 that culminated with his signing the agreement in Nairobi, Kenya, early the next year. Five years later, following a popular referendum, South Sudan officially became independent from Sudan.
In 2008, Taha stood firmly behind al-Bashir after the International Criminal Court filed genocide charges against the Sudan president for a five-year campaign of violence in Darfur, calling this move an attempt to "paralyze" his country.
Taha was Sudan's first vice president -- the second highest post in the east African nation -- from 1998 to 2005, became second vice president between 2005 and 2011, then returned to the previous position.
No detailed explanation was given in the SUNA report as to why Taha was leaving office.
Al-Bashir told a crowd in northern Kharthoum that there are no differences or conflicts regarding the formation of a new government, according to SUNA.
Dozens died earlier this fall in a spate of anti-government protests following the decision to lift its gas subsidies -- a move that nearly doubled the price of gasoline. The demonstrations also prompted a crackdown on local and international media.