South Sudan government reaches peace deal with rebels, reports say

South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir during the Independence Day ceremony in Juba in 2011. Photograph: Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

The South Sudan government reached a final peace deal and power-sharing agreement with the country’s main rebel group on Sunday, said the foreign minister of neighboring Sudan, which has been helping to broker the agreement, Reuters reported. 

“In initials, an agreement on outstanding issues has been signed and this agreement expresses the commitment of all parties to a ceasefire,” Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed said on Sudan state television, reported Reuters.

“We all are aware that some of the political parties were not willing to sign and I am now happy to confirm to you all that all political parties in South Sudan will now sign the deal before you,” he added.

On Friday, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said he believed the new peace deal between his government and the main rebel group would not collapse because it was not forced upon them like previous accords, according to Reuters.

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011, but civil war broke out two years later between the government led by Kiir and a rebel movement led by former vice president Riek Machar, Reuters reported.

Fueled 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.

Previous peace agreements held for only a matter of months before fighting resumed, which Kiir blamed on foreign influence, Reuters added.

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