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S. Sudan rebels to sign latest draft peace deal

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South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (right) and major opposition leader Riek Machar sign on the final deal on power-sharing and security arrangements between South Sudan’s conflicting parties, in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, August 5, 2018. XINHUA

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan has said that South Sudanese rebels will sign the latest draft of a comprehensive peace deal with the Juba government today, after assurances that a power-sharing accord inked earlier this month will be honored.

President Salva Kiir and the leader of the main rebel group, Riek Machar, signed up to the ceasefire and power-sharing agreement earlier this month after an initial deal in June aimed to end fighting that first broke out in 2013.

Mr Kiir’s government and some small opposition groups had initialled the draft at a ceremony hosted by Khartoum outside the Sudanese capital earlier on Tuesday.

However, Mr Machar’s SPLM-IO and another rebel group refused to sign, saying that disputes over power sharing and a new constitution had been left out.

The agreement is intended to end years of civil war in Africa’s youngest state that has killed thousands of people.

“Intensive negotiations with Dr. Riek Machar … has led to Dr. Riek Machar agreeing to initial the final peace agreement the day after tomorrow, on Thursday, August 30,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said Khartoum assured Mr Machar that the points he had raised would be taken up at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a gathering of east Africa nations that has been trying to end the war in South Sudan.

Sudan has brokered talks between Mr Kiir and various rebel groups in Khartoum this year.

The stability of South Sudan is important for Sudan and other countries, which fear a new flare up of the conflict could flood them with refugees.

Previous South Sudan peace deals have held for only a matter of months before fighting resumed.

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