South Sudan government and rebels sign peace deal

South Sudan warring parties to sign final peace deal on Sunday

"This agreement will not collapse and I am sure that it will not collapse because the people of South Sudan have now agreed that they must make peace among themselves", Kiir told journalists.

The signing ceremony was attended by Presidents Omer al-Bashir, Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta, Ismail Omar Guelleh, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheire and Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister, Demeke Mekonnen.

President Salva Kiir and his bitter rival Riek Machar were in neighbouring Sudan to sign the deal, under which the rebel leader is set to return to a unity government as the first of five vice presidents, an AFP correspondent there reported.

Thousands of South Sudanese were massed outside the Friendship Hall in Khartoum to celebrate the peace deal.

Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and chief mediator for the Khartoum Round of the South Sudan peace revitalisation process, El-Dirdeiry Mohamed Ahmed, arrived in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, yesterday to meet with President Silva Kiir Mayardit.

"We, however, remain committed to the strategic partnership between our country and theirs and we will not give up", Raila said on his Twitter page.

On Friday, Kiir pledged the deal would "not collapse" because it, unlike the previous peace initiatives, had not been imposed by outside powers.

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"These outstanding issues that are not yet resolved we shall resolve them as soon as I land in Khartoum", said Kiir who added that the agreement when finalized will hold due to fact it was not mediated under pressure and intimidation.

This leaves many in South Sudan doubtful on whether the deal would end the 5-year civil war in the country. This is why when I came sign. "Where will I get this?" said Kiir.

The deal also provides for 35 ministries during the transitional period.

The parliament will be comprised of 550 lawmakers, including 332 from Kiir's group and 128 from Machar's faction.

A similar peace deal was signed in 2015 but fell apart a year later in a deadly battle that saw Machar flee into exile.

The South Sudanese President also said that he was "going to sign", the agreement.

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