South Sudan Rivals Agree on 6-Month Extension in Peace Deal

5/7/2019

South Sudan’s once-warring parties have agreed to delay key next steps in a fragile peace deal by six months, after the main opposition party warned it might walk away. On May 12, opposition leader Riek Machar was due to return to the country and again become President Salva Kiir’s deputy in a power-sharing arrangement. But Machar’s supporters have said security arrangements are insufficient for him to return safely.

The agreement came after closed-door talks in neighboring Ethiopia. The extension needs approval next week by a council of regional foreign ministers from Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, and Uganda.

The six-month extension is welcome as long as “serious” work is done in the interim, German Ambassador Jan Hendrik van Thiel said. “If they agree and can plan to implement outstanding critical issues, namely on borders and credible security arrangements, and work on creating a free political space and free and fair elections on time… a delay is better than a rush into an unprepared, non-consensual government,” the ambassador said. He also emphasized the importance of reconciliation and transitional justice processes.

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Washington Post