South Sudan rivals agree to form transitional government by mid-November
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar, the leader of the main rebel group in the African country, have agreed to form a transitional government by mid-November, a year after they signed a peace agreement to end a bloody civil war.
According to Press TV, Machar, who lives in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, paid a rare visit to Juba this week to meet Kiir.
"The parties discussed minor issues and the principals agreed to establish transitional government by 12th November," South Sudan’s Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth told reporters on Wednesday.
The peace deal, which was reached in September 2018, called for a unity government, but it has been delayed as the government says it cannot afford the disarmament and the integration of former rebels in the army, which is a key provision of the accord.
This week's talks were aimed to iron out outstanding issues, according to government officials.
The two leaders said their talks went well, without providing details.
But the officials said that the two sides discussed constitutional amendments, security laws and the number of regional states.
South Sudan aims to hold elections after a three-year transition period.
Machar said he will make more visits to Juba. "There will be frequent meetings," he said, standing besides Kiir.
South Sudan, the youngest country in Africa, has been gripped by a bloody civil war since December 2013, when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup. The two sides were then involved in a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the impoverished country along the ethnic lines. Tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict.
The September 2018 deal was hammered out under pressure from international and regional powers.
A similar agreement, which returned Machar to vice presidency, was reached in 2015 but fell apart a year later in a deadly clash that forced Machar into exile.