CAPE TOWN, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- The peace process in South Sudan has entered "a crucial stage" and all parties concerned should treat this process with diligence and care, South African Deputy President David Mabuza said on Friday.

"As facilitators, we are confident that the Parties will form the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) within this window," Mabuza said after concluding his four-day mediation visit to the war-torn country, in his capacity as South Africa's special envoy to South Sudan.

During the visit, Mabuza held consultations with various parties and stakeholders that are signatories to the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan.

In these consultations, there was consensus on the formation of the TGNU before or by the end of the current extended period of 100 days ending in February 2020, according to Mabuza.

The number of states and their boundaries has been a sticking point between the parties concerned towards the formation of the TGNU.

Given that this matter has not been settled, the parties have agreed on a seven-day period for further consultations on the proposal of arbitration as a mechanism to break the impasse, Mabuza said.

He expressed his satisfaction at the progress made especially as parties committed to the formation of the TGNU, and for having moved closer to one another on a mechanism to resolve the impasse on states and boundaries.

"In our view, the proposal on the table is one mechanism that can produce an outcome that will stand the test of time, and serve as a strong basis for the constitutional making process as stipulated in the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan," he said in a statement distributed by his office.

"We therefore must allow Parties time to consult as they have requested," he added.

Shortly after its independence from Sudan in 2011, South Sudan plunged into civil war. At least 300,000 people are estimated to have died since late 2013, some 1.8 million people are displaced internally and 2.5 million others have fled to neighboring countries.

In 2018, all parties involved in the conflict signed the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the country, seen as a milestone toward a peaceful resolution.

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