South Sudan's President Salva Kiir said on national TV that he and the country's main former rebel leader, Riek Machar, have reached a deal to form a long-delayed unity government.
"We have agreed to form a national unity government within 100 days. Ceasefire will continue, we have no desire to see the war resume", Kiir said, as quoted by Sky News Arabia.
Recently, Washington imposed sanctions on two high-level officials of the South Sudanese government for their role in extending the conflict in the country by obstructing the reconciliation process. The Treasury Department said South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar reached an agreement in 2018 that called for forming a national unity government by this May.
In September 2018, Kiir signed a power-sharing deal with the rebel leader and a former vice president, Machar, to end the five-year civil war. The sides subsequently missed the 12 May deadline set in the agreement to form a unity government and extended it by another six months. Under the deal, Machar was also expected to return to Juba and become vice president again.
For five years, the conflict in South Sudan pitted supporters of Kiir against those of Machar, with at least 382,900 people killed, according to a recent report by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine that was commissioned by the State Department and US Institute of Peace. The conflict between Juba and insurgents led by Machar erupted in 2013. The latter was even forced to flee to Khartoum, the capital of neighbouring Sudan.
South Sudanese politician Riek Machar served as the inaugural vice president of South Sudan, from its independence in 2011 until his dismissal in 2013. He also returned to the post in 2016 for a short period of time.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Since 2013, it has been engulfed in a violent armed conflict between two rival ethnic groups, the Dinka and Nuer. While Kiir is an ethnic Dinka, Machar is a member of the Nuer group. Over two million people in South Sudan have been become forcibly displaced due to the conflict.