South Sudan warring sides sign ceasefire agreement
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have signed an agreement to end more than 13 months of conflict in the African country.
The deal was signed late on Sunday following negotiations in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.
“Complete cessation of hostilities in South Sudan is expected as of this morning (Monday),” said Seyoum Mesfin, a negotiator from the regional bloc Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD), which brokers the talks between the warring sides in South Sudan.
It is suggested in the new deal that Kiir would remain president in a new government, while Machar would become vice-president, two African diplomats attending the talks said.
The two rivals had previously inked — and then broke — at least six ceasefire agreements since fighting began in December 2013 between troops loyal to Kiir and defectors led by his former deputy, Machar, around the capital Juba.
The clashes have left some 10,000 South Sudanese dead and forced around 1.5 million people to flee homes in the world’s youngest country.
The widespread displacement has contributed to mass hunger and food shortages. Aid workers warn of famine if fighting continues.
South Sudan gained independence in July 2011 after its people overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for a split from Sudan.