Tuesday, August 25, 2015

South Sudan: President expected to sign peace deal

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has agreed to sign a peace deal aimed at ending his country's 20-month-old civil war.

In a letter obtained by VOA's South Sudan In Focus program, the East African bloc IGAD says the agreement will be signed Wednesday in Juba, South Sudan's capital.

IGAD has been mediating talks to end the war between Kiir's government and rebels led by his former deputy, Riek Machar.

Machar signed the agreement in Addis Ababa on August 17, but Kiir refused, saying that peace under the deal could not be sustained.

The United States has threatened sanctions against leaders on both sides of the conflict unless they make progress toward ending the war.

The conflict has displaced an estimated 2.2 million South Sudanese from their homes.

The French news agency, AFP, quoted Kiir spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny as saying the government still has reservations about the deal, even if Kiir signs it.

The Kiir government objects to power-sharing provisions, calls to demilitarize Juba, and seeing foreigners in charge of a commission that would monitor implementation of the deal.

The leaders of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan are expected to be on hand Wednesday for the signing of the agreement.


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