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Updated Feb 21, 2020

A significant development emerged in South Sudan on Thursday, when South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and ex-vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar met in the capital Juba to announce the creation of a shared government before the February 22 deadline, a crucial component of a peace deal signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018. The announcement comes after two previous attempts to create a unity government failed. President Kiir announced that he will dissolve the current government and appoint Machar as vice-president, one of the provisions in the peace deal.

In the weeks leading up to the announcement, international observers worried that South Sudan’s request to delay the formation of a unity government until this Saturday indicated an unwillingness by Kiir and Machar to come to an agreement, prolonging a civil war that has raged since 2013, killing at least fifty thousand people and displacing a further four million. The war began after Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup against him, a charge Machar denied. The strife is underpinned by ethnic conflict between the Dinka and Nuer peoples, to which Kiir and Machar belong, respectively.

The previous two attempts to establish a unity government failed over concerns about the creation of a unified national army, the division of regional states, and whether security guarantees for Machar’s safety would be met. President Kiir announced that both his and Machar’s forces will be responsible for security in the capital Juba, a step toward the creation of a unified military. He also encouraged the more than 190,000 displaced people living in UN-run refugee camps to leave, because a “new era of peace has arrived”.

A significant development emerged in South Sudan on Thursday, when South Sudanese president Salva Kiir and ex-vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar met in the capital Juba to announce the creation of a shared government before the February 22 deadline, a crucial component of a peace deal signed in Addis Ababa in September 2018. The announcement comes after two previous attempts to create a unity government failed. President Kiir announced that he will dissolve the current government and appoint Machar as vice-president, one of the provisions in the peace deal.

In the weeks leading up to the announcement, international observers worried that South Sudan’s request to delay the formation of a unity government until this Saturday indicated an unwillingness by Kiir and Machar to come to an agreement, prolonging a civil war that has raged since 2013, killing at least fifty thousand people and displacing a further four million. The war began after Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup against him, a charge Machar denied. The strife is underpinned by ethnic conflict between the Dinka and Nuer peoples, to which Kiir and Machar belong, respectively.

The previous two attempts to establish a unity government failed over concerns about the creation of a unified national army, the division of regional states, and whether security guarantees for Machar’s safety would be met. President Kiir announced that both his and Machar’s forces will be responsible for security in the capital Juba, a step toward the creation of a unified military. He also encouraged the more than 190,000 displaced people living in UN-run refugee camps to leave, because a “new era of peace has arrived”.

 

https://www.france24.com/fr/20200220-soudan-sud-kiir-machar-accord-gouvernement-national

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