South Sudan rivals sign agreement in a bid to normalize relations

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South Sudan’s political rivals agreed on Sunday to unify army command in a key development of the fragile peace agreement signed in 2018.

The agreement was signed in Juba after mediation from neighbouring Sudan. “Most important is not only the signing, but the implementation of these articles. We must implement what we are saying. The people of South Sudan expect us to do that” (…) The silence of the guns is most important to peace. We cannot continue to fight when we are talking peace in Juba so as much as we talk about peace, the guns must go down from today”, said South Sudanese Mining Minister and Representative of SPLM-IO, Martin Gama Abucha.

The agreement provides for a division – 60% for the president’s camp and 40% for vice-president’s Machar – of leadership positions in the army, police and national security forces.

Tensions between forces loyal to the president and former rebel leader Riek Machar had escalated recently, raising international fears of a return to full-scale conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

“For the national security of the Republic of South Sudan, which is an extension of consideration of Sudanese national security, this proposal was integrated and compatible and thank God that it has been agreed between all the parties regarding the order of distribution of commands leadership. This proposal has raised the road or time for the matrix to implement what was agreed in this proposal”, added Yassin Ibrahim Yassin, Sudan Minister of Defence.

The 2018 peace agreement provides for the principle of power-sharing in a government of national unity, formed in February 2020 with Kiir as president and Machar as vice president.