South Sudan's rival leaders sign power-sharing agreement

South Sudan's rival leaders sign power-sharing agreement

South Sudan's rival leaders sign power-sharing agreement

"In initials, an agreement on outstanding issues has been signed and this agreement expresses the commitment of all parties to a ceasefire", said Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed, who helped to broker the deal.

This leaves many in South Sudan doubtful on whether the deal would end the 5-year civil war in the country.

Direct peace talks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum between President Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar, in addition to representatives of other South Sudan's opposition groups, were hosted under patronage of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

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

Some opposition groups, however, have not signed the deal as they are dissatisfied with the power-sharing arrangement.

Salva Kiir says the new deal will survive because it won't be forced upon them like previous accords.

It also stipulated that the transitional cabinet would be composed of 35 ministers from both the government and the opposition, including 20 ministers from the government, and nine from the Machar-led Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition (SPLM-IO).

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But Sudan's Bashir said the mediators were committed to ensure that the agreement was implemented. The transitional Parliament will comprise 550 lawmakers, 332 from Kiir's side and 128 from Machar's faction.

"Last month the White House warned that "a narrow agreement between elites" would not solve the problems plaguing South Sudan".

A 2015 peace agreement was shattered when the warring parties renewed fighting in July 2016 in the capital, forcing rebel leader Riek Machar to flee into exile.

"My government and I know the conflict in South Sudan has resulted in a financial and political burden", Kiir said. "There are so many things need to be done".

The talks come as part of a regional push aimed at achieving peace in the country, which plunged into a devastating conflict just two years after its independence from Sudan.

The conflict has been fuelled by divisions between the Mr Kiir's Dinka and Mr Machar's Nuer ethnic groups.

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