S.Sudanese warring leaders to form long-delayed unity government

South Sudan President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreed on Thursday 20 February to form a unity government, a long-delayed step towards ending six years of war.

Iran Press/Africa: The two old rivals, who have been bickering for months, have overseen a conflict that has left at least 380,000 dead and forced four million from their homes.

"We have agreed to form the government in two days on 22nd February. We are still discussing other things and I am hopeful we will resolve them all," Machar said after meeting Kiir. The president confirmed that they had agreed to a joint government for the third time since independence in 2011 an experiment which has ended in disaster twice before.

"As the president, I will be appointing the vice presidents, and I will start by appointing Riek Macher tomorrow (Friday) in the morning and I will dissolve the government today and then form a new government on the 22nd," he said.

"These are changes that will bring peace."The formation of a unity government was the cornerstone of a September 2018 peace deal. But it has been delayed twice by failure to move forward on crucial issues such as forming a unified army, carving out state borders and creating a protection force to assure Machar's security.

Kiir said his forces would be in charge of Machar's protection and of security in Juba."I have taken the responsibility for protection, as the unified forces are still under training," he said. He urged some 190,000 people living under United Nations protection in tent cities across the nation "to come out because the dawn of peace has come".


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