The six-month delay in forming South Sudan's new unity government helped to salvage the September 2018 peace deal from collapse and prevented the conflict-torn country from returning to war, an expert said on Wednesday.
Abraham Kuol Nyuon, assistant professor of the Department of Political Science at the University of Juba, said the extension will give the parties to the peace deal time to address the outstanding issues that prevented them from forming the government after the elapse of the eight-month pre-transitional period on May 12.
"To me, the extension means that the peace agreement has been rescued from collapsing.
"The coming of the warring parties to Juba means less death to our people because there will be no more fighting," Nyuon told Xinhua in an interview.
Signatories to the fragile peace agreement on May 3 agreed to extend the formation of the transitional government by six months following delays in the implementation of the pact over unresolved issues.
But South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has instead called for a one-year delay, arguing that the six months may not be enough to implement the outstanding issues such as security arrangements.
Nyuon said though the extension may prolong the economic woes in the east African country since resources would be diverted towards peace implementation, it is better to have stability rather than continuation of war that would claim more lives.
He urged the peace partners to exert maximum political will to ensure that they address the pending issues within the six-month period to rescue the peace deal from unraveling.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013 and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital Juba in July 2016. Under the 2018 peace deal, opposition leader Riek Machar with four others will once again be reinstated as Kiir's deputy. -Xinhua