South Sudan’s warring sides have signed a preliminary power-sharing deal once again, which will see rebel leader Riek Machar reinstated as first vice president.
The deal sealed on Wednesday should be followed by a final one on August 5, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al-Dierdiry Ahmed said at the signing ceremony in Khartoum.
Wednesday’s agreement aims at ending the country’s civil war, the Sudanese minister said.
“The power-sharing document has been signed and it addresses all pending issues during the transitional term,” said Ahmed as he announced the details of the pact.
“Salva Kiir will continue as president of South Sudan and Riek Machar will be the first vice president,” he said.
“There will be four other vice presidents shared between other political groups.”
Once a final peace deal is signed, it will give the rival groups three months to form a transitional government under the new format, which will then hold power for three years.
Ahmed said one issue that still needed to be resolved was how to share power at the level of regions and counties.
“The negotiations on this will continue until we have an agreement,” he said.
Some opposition groups had refused to sign Wednesday’s document but discussions with them were also continuing, he said.
The new deal stipulates that there will be 35 ministers in the transitional government – 20 from Kiir’s group and nine from Machar’s, while the rest will represent other groups.
The parliament will comprise 550 legislators, including 332 from Kiir’s group and 128 from Machar’s faction.
Ahmed said an independent commission will also be formed to decide on the number of provinces in the country.
Khartoum, as part of regional efforts to end the conflict in the world’s youngest country, has hosted a round of peace talks since June between South Sudan’s warring leaders.
On June 27, the rival groups agreed on a permanent ceasefire and withdrawing of their forces from civilian areas.
It was violated hours after it began, with the government and armed opposition trading blame for attacks that killed 18 civilians.
On July 7, they agreed on a power-sharing deal, but its signing was delayed due to differences over the contents of the accord.
A similar deal was signed in 2015 but fell apart a year later in a deadly battle that saw Machar flee into exile.
The war in South Sudan erupted in December 2013 after Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting a coup.
The conflict has already killed tens of thousands of people and forced millions from their homes.