News / Africa

South Sudan President, Rebel Chief Reach Cease-Fire Deal

South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
South Sudan's rebel leader Riek Machar (R) and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (L) exchange signed peace agreement documents in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 9, 2014.
Marthe van der Wolf
South Sudan President Salva Kiir signed a cease-fire agreement Friday night with his rival, opposition leader Riek Machar, in Ethiopia. The agreement calls for the cease-fire to be active within 24 hours that, ending five months of conflict in the country.

The deal states that both sides have to refrain from any combat action, and they must open up humanitarian corridors. It also calls for a transitional government of national unity to take the country forward.

Kiir gave his assurance that from Saturday on, his troops will not violate the agreement. “I want to assure you that I and my party, the party I am leading and the army that I’m leading, will implement this agreement without any failure.”

The deal is very similar to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January, but fighting continued throughout South Sudan. Despite Friday’s signing, there remains a lot to be agreed upon in the coming weeks, such as a permanent cease-fire. The two leaders have agreed to meet again within one month.
 
Machar said the agreement is an important roadmap. “I want to underline to you our commitment for seeking political settlement for this problem. As you know it has started from the SPML, the differences in the SPLM and it went into government," he said. "I am satisfied with the agenda that we have drawn with the envoys. If the two parties seriously engage in dialogue, discussion, we will resolve the problem.”

Machar also said this was a “senseless war” and that he had not attempted a coup, as alleged by Kiir.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the agreement could mark a breakthrough for the future of South Sudan and urged both sides to swiftly implement it.

Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had both visited South Sudan in the past week, as part of an international push to stop the fighting there.

In a report released Thursday, the United Nations said both the South Sudanese government and the rebels may have committed crimes against humanity.

Amnesty International said its researchers saw a mass grave in the town of Bor containing as many as 530 bodies.

The unrest was sparked by a power dispute that started in mid-December between Kiir and Machar, his former deputy who was fired in July. More than 1.3 million people have been displaced, and thousands have been killed.

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by: wnyin from: canada
May 10, 2014 9:11 PM
If any wise person notices Riek Machar is an egocentric. He is occupied with self, I this and that. A career criminal with a very long records for breaking truces. If justice isn't served to innocence victims, who were butchered by rebels under his command, than this peace deal will not hold. Up to now, the rival tribes, Murle, Dinka and Chiluk, whom Riek Machar's Nuer from Lou had waged war against and massacred their families may retiliate, but so far, they have shown a great restraint expecting justice against crimes committed by Riek Machar. Otherwise, Rwanda's jenocide will likely be so pale in contrast to what could take place in the near future if Machar isn't indicted. And this goes as well for any government's army personel who might have had murdered unarmed civilian during this failed coup attempt.

by: abdulai kargbo from: freetown.sierra leone
May 10, 2014 7:02 AM
Good news for the peace process. I hope both parties will respect the content of the document.

by: Sailm moriss from: London
May 10, 2014 5:01 AM
The peace will hold as long as the government does not attempt to wrong foot the opposition. The previous agreement failed because government forces went on the offensive during and throughout peace negotiations. In effect there was no agreement.

by: Thachuor Biel Pal from: Ethiopia
May 10, 2014 4:52 AM
Peace peace is much better than senseless war. Please don't decieve the worlds that we have signed the peace let peace prevail in the youngest nation and i hope that the next step will be none southerner troop must leave the new nation. Thanks you all!

by: kioko. from: msa
May 10, 2014 2:58 AM
If only the could read my coment earler we could have stoped the death

by: Anny from: China
May 10, 2014 1:56 AM
Cease-fire agreement is essential between two parties that is good for the people. South Sudan is poor country which is not permitted girls roll in school and woman eat together with husband in the same table. The country should impose on women rights!

by: Danlami T. from: Nigeria
May 10, 2014 1:28 AM
That was a step in the right direction. Peace n stability are panecea to development. put a halt on the mess and move on.

by: Dobuol from: Wuor
May 10, 2014 12:52 AM
No sign of peace or compromise,supposedly because it's not a right time for peace talks we all witness. They sign and exchange their document without hands shake not even a smile on both faces. Kiir has sign a ceasefire in January than what happen his own supporters did attack Bor at the time Bentui. In my point view South Sudan or dictators leader has not commited for ceasefire. He was in Addis Ababa for just to see how's DR. Machar would react when they face each other but it's not about Machar and Him. DR. Riek has nothing to do for the artocities which dictator Kiir had commited to Nuer innocents civilian.

by: Losike Albert Koteen from: Koteen
May 10, 2014 12:30 AM

Goood job done but i don't think whether the government can accept agreeing with all agenders mentioned above
1. The two parties have been given a comprehensive agenda by IGAD for the talks. The 4 agenda includes the following items;

a) Cessation of hostilities and access to humanitarian organizations; the parties are to discuss why they failed to implement previous agreement and what needs to be done to commit the parties to stick to the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in January.

2. Discuss transitional interim government and its institutions

a) Charter and mandate

b) Size

c) Who should be part of this government

d) Interim parliament/Assembly

e) Census

f) Elections

g) Security reforms

3. Permanent Constitution for South Sudan

4. Permanent Ceasefire

by: Lokuke peter from: Kampala
May 10, 2014 12:22 AM
Thank god who has made the two to sign the agreement
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