South Sudan president and rebel leaders reach last minute peace agreement to avert new UN sanctions

South Sudan president and rebel leaders reach last minute peace agreement to avert new UN sanctions

President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar agreed to a “permanent ceasefire” in Sudan on Thursday to avert further

FILE PHOTO: South Sudan President Salva Kiir attends a South Sudan peace meeting in Khartoum

Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar agreed to a “permanent ceasefire” in Sudan on Thursday to avert further UN sanctions on the conflict’s key leaders.

The agreement allows for humanitarian aid corridors, release of prisoners, and withdrawal of forces. However, several previous agreements have broken down. Additionally, this current deal risks failing because it does not include the ten rebel groups under the South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA)—led by a number of leaders that are opposed to both Kiir and Machar.

However, it is significant that, unlike in past failed accords, Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir has brokered this accord. Bashir has been accused of undermining past peace efforts by resupplying rebel forces to fight the government in South Sudan—a former oil-rich region of Sudan.

Many aid workers are sceptical of this deal’s longevity. It will depend on Khartoum’s influence over the SSOA, which could be limited given the umbrella group’s wish to exclude both Kiir and Machar from any transitional government. Expect near-term political uncertainty on the deal’s durability over the next few weeks as the agreement beds itself down.

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