27 June 2018

South Sudan: Foes Salva Kiir and Riek Machar Sign 'Permanent' Ceasefire

Photo: Stefany Glinski/Irin
Destruction is evident in Malakal, once South Sudan's second city but now largely deserted. More than 24,000 people now live in a UN protected camp on the outskirts of the town.

After a series of failed peace deals, President Salva Kiir has signed a truce with rebels. The deal also allows the formation of a transitional government ahead of fresh elections.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and his nemesis and former Vice President Riek Machar said on Wednesday that they have reached a "permanent" peace deal. Although the two have announced similar truces before, this ceasefire is set to take effect within three days and is giving people hope that this may finally end the country's brutal civil conflict.

"This day was expected by our people in South Sudan and it has now come," Kiir said after he signed the agreement.

For his own part, Machar said the deal was the "ending of the war."

The truce also permits members of the African Union and another regional group, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, to deploy peacekeeping troops.

South Sudan will also be given a new, transitional government to rule the country for 36 months leading up to national elections.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in South Sudan since 2013, when Kiir accused Machar of trying to orchestrate a coup. The devastating war destroyed all the optimism that had surrounded the country's split from Sudan two years prior.

President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Machar met to discuss peace in South Sudan, but the rebels say it's "unrealistic." The war in South Sudan has continued since the two fell out in 2013, sparking violence.

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