President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir and former vice president/Rebel Leader Riek Machar started a civil war in the country two years after gaining independence and seceding from Sudan in 2011 following a power struggle between the two leading to a five-year-long war that’s killed thousands of people and millions displaced in the conflict.
I call on everyone as a leader of South Sudan that this agreement which we have signed today should be the end of the war and the conflict in our country. My government and I know the conflict in South Sudan has resulted in a financial and political burden. We must accept that the internal war has no meaning and has imposed suffering on us and our families and has killed hundreds of our young men and women, destroyed our economy, and left us divided, said President Salva Kiir.
In what’s being called a ‘Breakthrough‘ deal, President Salva Kiir and Rebel Leader Riek Machar signed in a final cease-fire and power-sharing agreement on Sunday in neighboring Sudan. The deal legitimizes Machar as one of the country’s five vice presidents.
A similar agreement was reached in 2015 but it failed the following year with Machar fleeing the country on foot, South Sudan expert Peter Martell tells BBC’s Newsday, ‘This is essentially the same agreement that was signed in 2015 which collapsed a year or so later – with Mr. Machar fleeing Juba on foot, chased by helicopter gunships. But this time around there is an impetus for peace, including from the elite on both sides of the conflict. They have run out of money and need cash to continue to hold on to power. If oil flow increases and more money goes into the economy, they will find a good reason to step back from war and to enjoy the profits of peace. The people of South Sudan are fed up with the conflict, and it will be wrong to take away any optimism they have shown about the deal. But building peace takes a lot more than signing a piece of paper.‘
South Sudan’s ruling party declared Monday an unofficial holiday to celebrate the peace deal, and most businesses in the country’s capital Juba were shut. With a copy of the agreement in hand, President Kiir addressed at least 10,000 people who had gathered at the airport to welcome him back from Sudan, BBC reports. President Kiir urged dialogue with the United Nations Security Council on how to secure the region from threats and keep the peace.
Thousands of SouthSudanese citizens gather at peace venue in Khartoum chanting peace slogans as Pres Omer Bashir of #Sudan address them on peace occasion. #SouthSudan warring parties are due to sign final agreement on peace outstanding issues on governance and security. pic.twitter.com/iFQQ6fgthx
— Juba Daily News (@JubaDailyNews) August 5, 2018
Both sides of the conflict are running out of funds to support their agendas and see the prospects of reconciliation. The citizens are hopeful but they’ll need to do more than that and hold their leaders liable to keep them focused on keeping the peace of the nation top priority.