South Sudan’s warring leaders sign peace deal to share power

ODM leader Raila Odinga with representatives of civil society groups in South Sudan at his office on Thursday

ODM leader Raila Odinga with representatives of civil society groups in South Sudan at his office on Thursday

"No matter how much the world invests in South Sudan, it is incumbent on the people to find lasting peace for their country", Uhuru said.

Under the pact, South Sudanese government and opposition groups greed to have five vice presidents during the transitional period, with Riek Machar reinstated as the country's first vice president.

Fuelled by personal and ethnic rivalries, the conflict has killed tens of thousands, displaced an estimated quarter of South Sudan's population of 12 million and ruined its economy that heavily relies on crude oil production.

It began when Mr Kiir fired his then deputy Mr Machar, accusing him of planning a coup - an allegation he denied.

Kiir and Machar's factions have already agreed on a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of their forces from urban areas, in the latest talks hosted by Bashir.

But Sudan's Bashir said the mediators were committed to ensure that the agreement was implemented.

The deal stipulates that there will be 35 ministers in the transitional government - 20 from Kiir's group and nine from Machar's, while the rest will represent other groups.

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"Last month the White House warned that "a narrow agreement between elites" would not solve the problems plaguing South Sudan". The Parliament will have 550 members, 332 from Kiir's group and 128 from Machar's group.

But on Sunday the top USA envoy to Khartoum said the U.S. backed the process.

But he highlighted several challenges going forward, especially in accommodating a bloated government.

"We are supporting any initiative to bring peace to South Sudan and we hope this process will continue comprehensively", US Charge D'affaires in Khartoum, Steven Koutsis, told reporters after Sunday's deal was signed.

A similar arrangement fell apart in July 2016 when fighting erupted in the capital, Juba, and Machar fled the country.

Juma said it is disheartening that South Sudan is not taking the trajectory of development as expected after attaining independence in 2011.

President Kiir also said the remaining outstanding issues will be finalized with his rivals as soon as he arrives in Khartoum.

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