South Sudan rebels sign peace treaty

South Sudan's rebel leader signed a peace deal with the country's president Thursday, while foreign observers said that they hope that this agreement is more successful than several ceasefires and peace deals that have come and gone down in flames before it.
By Rick Docksai | Sep 24, 2018
South Sudan's government signed a peace deal Thursday with rebel leader Riek Machar, in hopes of ending the fledgling nation's five-year civil war. The deal reinstates Machar as vice-president and invites Machar's fighting forces to peaceably rejoin the national government.

Machar will be one of a group of five vice-presidents serving under Kiir, per the agreement, which establishes a new postwar "transitional government." The transitional government will also have 550 lawmakers and 35 ministers, according to the agreement.

Machar was South Sudan's vice-president until 2013, when Kiir ousted him on accusations that Machar was plotting a coup. Machar and supporters rose up in arms, and the civil war ensued.

Sudanese President Salva Kiir signed the deal earlier this month, but Machar had held out due to lingering concerns about power-sharing and the constitution. The rebel leader gave the document his signature this week only after receiving assurance that Kiir would address his concerns.

"By signing this document today, we have reached the conclusion of these negotiations, which consisted of two rounds, one about the outstanding issues and the other on the subsequent issues," Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed told reporters. Ahmed said that a final treaty-signing will take place at a summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eastern African trade bloc, at a date that both parties will announce later.

Tens of thousands of people died in the civil war over the last five years, and millions more suffered displacement. Several unsuccessful ceasefires and peace deals went into effect and broke down over this time span. Foreign observers expressed mixed opinions about whether this latest agreement will fare better.

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