Africa Power-sharing deal key to peace: South Sudan’s Machar

Power-sharing deal key to peace: South Sudan’s Machar

South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar
South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar

(AA) – South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar has described the preliminary power-sharing deal reached with the Juba government as an “important step that paves the way for peace.”

“We’ve reached this deal after considerable efforts and negotiations,” Machar told The Anadolu Agency in Addis Ababa, moments after he signed the deal with President Salva Kiir.

Under the sponsorship of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kiir and Machar signed a power-sharing deal late Sunday in a bid to put an end to the crisis that has been raging in their fledgling country for over a year.

They also agreed to resume negotiations on the specifics of the deal on Feb. 20 in order to reach a final agreement.

“This important step paves the way for peace and ends the war,” Machar added, stressing his commitment to the resume negotiations to agree on outstanding matters.

South Sudan government spokesman Michael Makuei, for his part, told AA that the deal as a “major achievement and an important step towards peace.”

“What both sides have signed is a true commitment to peace,” Makuei added.

The deal calls for the formation of a transitional government in South Sudan, lays down the principles of power-sharing in the country and specifies security arrangements.

Negotiations on the specifics of the deal will resume on Feb. 20, provided that both sides reach a final peace agreement by March 5 at the latest.

In the case of any violations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will report them to both the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council.

The transitional government, which will hold power for three months until elections are held in June, will have Kiir as president, Machar as first vice president, and a second vice president from the southern Equatoria region.

It will also include a cabinet composed of 27 ministers, the president and his deputy.

South Sudan, which became independent in 2011, has been shaken by violence since late 2013, when Kiir accused Machar, his sacked vice-president, of leading a failed coup attempt against his regime.

Tens of thousands have reportedly been killed in the crisis, close to two million have been uprooted from their homes, and hundreds of thousands now seek shelter in displacement camps across the country.

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