Witnesses to the signing of a security accord between the warring parties of South Sudan believe that it is one step closer to a power-sharing deal in the war-torn country.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Riek Machar signed an agreement on security arrangements at Sudan’s ministry of defence on Friday.
“With the signing of this agreement, it is time for our brothers in South Sudan to put aside their weapons and for South Sudan to achieve stability,” Sudan foreign minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed told reporters, Reuters reports.
The parties would reconvene on Saturday in Kampala, Uganda, to try and secure a final peace deal.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and Uganda President Yoweri Museveni will attend those talks as well.
“We expect an agreement at this meeting on a power-sharing blueprint…We are optimistic regarding reaching a deal on power-sharing in South Sudan,” Ahmed said.
South Sudan found itself torn apart by civil war just two years after gaining independence from Sudan in 2011. A political dispute between President Kiir and then-vice president Machar resulted in the military confrontation.
In June, Kiir signed a framework agreement with rebel leader Machar in Khartoum, which formed the way forward for a ceasefire.
However, there are rebels on the ground who have rejected elements of the accord, while both sides have accused each other of violating the truce. They’ve been trading blame for attacks that have killed 18 people so far.
The violence has displaced around a quarter of its 12 million-strong population, decimated the oil production industry and ruined an already ailing economy.