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20 Feb, 2020 12:29

S. Sudan’s former rebel leader Machar agrees to form unity govt with President Kiir

S. Sudan’s former rebel leader Machar agrees to form unity govt with President Kiir

South Sudan’s former rebel leader Riek Machar said he has agreed to form a unity government with President Salva Kiir following a meeting at state buildings on Thursday. “We had a meeting with the president on the outstanding issues. We have agreed to form the government on 22 February,” Machar said. President Kiir confirmed the agreement.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but plunged into a civil war in 2013 when President Kiir sacked his then-deputy Machar, who went on to lead a rebel faction. Kiir said he would appoint Machar as first vice president on Friday and provide all the members of the former opposition with protection, Reuters reported.

A November 12 deadline to form a unity government was pushed back because key criteria of a 2018 peace agreement had not been met.

A UN rights probe said on Thursday that South Sudan’s government forces and other armed groups have “deliberately starved” civilians by denying aid access and displacing communities. The report was issued two days before a new deadline to form a unity government.