South Sudan’s warring leaders agree to share power

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From Ummulkhair Sympathy

South Sudan’s warring leaders have agreed to share power once again in the latest effort to end a five-year civil war, officials announced yesterday, days after the United States said it was “skeptical” the two men whose rivalry has killed tens of thousands could lead the way to peace.

South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, announced the agreement between President Salva Kiir and armed opposition leader Riek Machar to reporters in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.

The agreement initialed yesterday will be signed on Aug. 5, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed said. There was no immediate comment from the armed opposition.

Kiir will lead South Sudan’s government’s official SUNA news agency reported.

Also the warring sides have agreed to share a 550-seat parliament with 332 members from Kiir’s government, 128 from Machar’s group and the rest from other groups. Some South Sudanese who have seen past peace deals come and go reacted to the latest news with wariness.

However, a similar arrangement, fell apart in July 2016 when fighting erupted in the capital, Juba, and Machar fled the country on foot.

The civil war broke out in December 2013 between supporters of Kiir and his then-deputy Machar. More than 2 million people have since fled the country in Africa’s largest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide in 1994, while millions of others have been left near famine.

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