By Denis Dumo
JUBA, South Sudan, Feb 15 (Reuters) - South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir said on Saturday he was cutting the number of states from 32 to 10, unlocking a stalled peace deal and paving the way for the formation of a long- awaited unity government.
"The compromise we have made today is a painful decision but a necessary one if that is what brings peace", Kiir said in a statement. "I expect the opposition to be prepared to do the same."
The regional group IGAD had given the government until Saturday to find a solution over the number of states the country should have.
Disagreement between Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar over the number of states as well as a failure to integrate different fighting forces have been major obstacles to completing the peace process.
Riek Machar could not be reached for comment.
"This paves a path forward. The peace deal was stuck. Now the parties will need to complete the negotiations to form the long-awaited unity government," said Alan Boswell, a senior analyst with the Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group.
South Sudan's five-year civil war erupted soon after the country's formation in 2011 and created the worst refugee crisis in Africa since the Rwandan genocide.
Kiir and Riek Machar agreed a peace deal in 2018, pressured by the United Nations, the United States and countries in the region.
Under the deal, the two agreed to form a unity government by November 2019. They then pushed then the deadline back by 100 days, prompting Washington to recall its ambassador and impose sanctions on senior officials for their role in perpetuating the conflict. (Editing by Giulia Paravicini and Frances Kerry)
Newer news items:
- South Sudan unity army not ready for peace as deadline looms - 16/02/2020
- Riek Machar, rejects president’s peace proposal - 16/02/2020
- Pretoria claims victory as warring South Sudan leaders sign peace deal - 15/02/2020
- Shearer: South Sudan may tip back into frustration and violence - 15/02/2020
- David Mabuza hails South Sudan President for resolving issue of states, boundaries - 15/02/2020
Older news items:
- Can South Sudan's men of war lead the country to peace? - 15/02/2020
- South Sudan regional governors vote to retain 32 states - 14/02/2020
- Kiir Blames Envoys for Lack of Deal on South Sudanese States - 14/02/2020
- Civil society calls for deal on number of South Sudan states - 14/02/2020
- S.Sudan's Kiir says no compromise to end peace deal deadlock - 14/02/2020
Popular news items:
- No oil in troubled waters - 25/03/2014 - Read 19798 times
- School exam results in South Sudan show decline - Bikya Masr - 01/04/2012 - Read 17059 times
- Former Lost Boy Gives Back to South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 31/05/2012 - Read 15457 times
- NDSU student from South Sudan receives scholarship - In-Forum - 29/09/2012 - Read 14742 times
- With prisons full, South Sudan to introduce mobile courts to clear backlog of ... - Washington Post - 11/10/2012 - Read 12245 times