South Sudan’s warring parties have agreed to a power-sharing deal that will see rebel leader Riek Machar return to his position as vice president, according to Sudan’s foreign minister. The deal was reached on Saturday in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, aimed at ending the ruinous civil war in South Sudan, which erupted in 2013 when a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and Machar, his then-deputy, escalated into a military confrontation.
“It has been agreed that there will be four vice presidents: the current two vice presidents, plus Riek Machar (who) will assume the position of first vice president, and then the fourth position will be allocated to a woman from the opposition,” Al-Dierdiry Ahmed, the Sudanese foreign minister, was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.
Ahmed said the new proposal was “accepted by the government” and that Machar’s opposition had accepted the deal “in principle” but would “consider it and come up with the final position” following further negotiations, to begin in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on Sunday.
Saturday’s day-long meeting was hosted by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and was attended by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, as well as representatives of the opposition.
A similar power-sharing deal, that returned Machar to the vice presidency, was signed in 2015. But it collapsed a year later in a deadly battle that saw Machar flee into exile.
The latest agreement is part of renewed regional diplomatic efforts to end a conflict that has killed tens of thousands and forced millions from their homes since December 2013.
The UN says more than half of South Sudan’s population will need food aid in 2018 [Al Jazeera]
On Friday, the rival sides signed an accord on security arrangements after talks in Khartoum.
It comes days after Kiir and Machar agreed to a permanent ceasefire, raising hopes for an end a conflict that has devastated the world’s youngest country.
The latest truce was violated hours after it began, with the government and armed opposition trading blame for attacks that killed 18 civilians.
Multiple attempts at peace deals have failed in the past, leaving long-suffering citizens wondering whether this latest attempt will be respected by both leaders.
Last month, South Sudan’s government rejected the idea of Machar returning again as Kiir’s deputy. – Al Jazeera