President Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar (pictured) signed the pact in the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha on Wednesday in a bid to bring together the three rival factions of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM).
Fighting erupted in the newly-independent country in December 2013 after months of tension between Kiir and his then deputy Machar, whom he had sacked on charges of an attempted coup.
The peace negotiations were hosted by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete. The details of the accord are not immediately known.
“Congratulations to the SPLM leadership for reaching an agreement to reunify their party for the good of South Sudan,” Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe wrote on Twitter following the deal.
Parallel efforts to secure peace in the country are being carried out by the east African regional bloc Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) in Addis Ababa. A round of IGAD peace negotiations is scheduled on the sidelines of the African Union summit at the end of January in the Ethiopian capital.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but
the new state quickly plunged into a political crisis. The fighting, mostly along ethnic lines, has claimed over 10,000 lives and displaced more than a million people.
The European Union and the United States have imposed sanctions on warring commanders for repeatedly violating the
shs/kms (Reuters, AFP)