South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar will form a unity government with President Salva Kiir after the two leaders held a meeting on Thursday.

Riek Machar said after the meeting that “We had a meeting with the president on the outstanding issues. We have agreed to form the government on 22 Feb.”

President Kiir has also confirmed the agreement which could go a long way to restore peace to South Sudan.

In December 2019, both leaders reached a deal to form a transitional unity government.

The two rivals vowed to form the said unity government even if they fail to resolve all their differences.

President Kiir and Riek Machar were to form a unity government as agreed in a peace deal by November 12, 2019.

But both parties failed to meet this deadline delaying the unity government for 100 days beyond the Nov. 12 deadline.

A breakdown in relations between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Machar sparked a civil war, killing hundreds of people and displacing millions.

A new deal was to provide for five vice presidents for South Sudan and protect a power sharing arrangement.

Per the deal former Vice-President Machar is expected to return to his former position. The transitional government would govern for three years.

The most recent deal was signed in 2015 but it did not help to end the conflict. South Sudan gained independence in 2011 from north Sudan but fighting broke out two years later.

The key issues for negotiators has been guaranteeing the safety of Machar and his troops and how to de-militarise Juba.

Reducing the number of regional states in South Sudan to an agreeable number also remains a thorn in the flesh for negotiators.


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