South Sudan Rivals Sign Security Pact, Edging Nearer Peace Deal

(Bloomberg) -- South Sudan’s warring parties signed a deal on security arrangements, the latest step toward a final agreement to end the almost five-year civil war.

Representatives of President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar signed the pact Friday in Khartoum, the capital of neighboring Sudan. The agreement concerns key issues including unifying and reorganizing the army, establishing a joint security committee and removing fighters from population centers, the state-run Sudan News Agency reported late Thursday.

South Sudan’s conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and uprooted about 4 million people, with both sides accused of atrocities. Kiir and Machar, his former deputy, signed a cease-fire agreement last week that was quickly marred by further fighting.

They’ve indicated they’re ready to make their second attempt at a power-sharing government since the war began in December 2013. That deal ended in renewed violence weeks into its enactment in 2016, with Machar fleeing into exile.

South Sudan’s minister of cabinet affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro, said that the warring parties want to avoid repeating the mistakes of the earlier agreement, which brought two groups of fighters loyal to either side to the capital, Juba.

The new, unified force “will become the nucleus of the national army, national police, national security,” he told reporters Friday in the city.

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