By Reuters |
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the rebel commander Riek Machar signed another cease-fire agreement on Monday, edging them closer to a final deal to end a 15-month conflict that has ravaged the new country, mediators said.
African diplomatic sources said the agreement, which was not immediately made public, sets out how the two leaders would share power once they formed an interim government. It proposes that Mr. Kiir would remain president while Mr. Machar would become vice president, the sources said.
The warring sides also agreed to abide by a cease-fire deal that was signed in January 2013, but which has been frequently violated.
The rebels, however, said many more details need to be agreed upon before the deal could be labeled a “power sharing” agreement.
After signing the deal, Mr. Machar said the two sides would hold more discussions on the functions of the provisional government.
Few other details were revealed after frantic late-night talks. Regional diplomats had warned the warring sides that failure to come up with a new accord could lead to sanctions.
The conflict in South Sudan, Africa’s newest nation and one of its poorest, erupted in December 2013 and has rumbled on since then despite several commitments by both sides to halt the violence.
More than 10,000 people have been killed, 1.5 million people have been driven from their homes, and many in the oil-producing nation of about 11 million people are struggling to find enough food to eat.
Seyoum Mesfin, the chief mediator, said the two leaders had agreed to resume talks on Feb. 20.
The two sides must have a transitional government in place by July, when Mr. Kiir’s presidential term runs out.
Human rights groups have said both factions are responsible for ethnic killings and other abuses, driving the nation to the brink of famine.
Source: The New York Times