South Sudan's warring parties reach deal on security arrangements

South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Sudan's Omar al Bashir and South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar hold hands after signing a peace agreement in Khartoum, Sudan, June 27, 2018. /REUTERS
South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Sudan's Omar al Bashir and South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar hold hands after signing a peace agreement in Khartoum, Sudan, June 27, 2018. /REUTERS

South

Sudan's government and rebels have reached a deal on security arrangements during talks in Khartoum, as part of efforts to end nearly five years of civil war.

The talks have been hosted by

Sudan, from which South

Sudan

declared independence in 2011 after decades of bloodshed.

South

Sudan

itself plunged into war two years later after a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and then-Vice President Riek Machar exploded into military confrontation.

Last month, Kiir signed a framework agreement with rebel leader Machar in Khartoum providing for a ceasefire, paving the way for talks towards a full treaty.

But rebels immediately rejected some elements of the accord and both sides have accused each other of violating the truce, trading blame for attacks that have killed 18 civilians.

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On Thursday evening, Sudanese state news agency SUNA

quoted

Sudanese army spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami as saying that the two South

Sudanese sides had finalised a deal on security arrangements.

The agency said the sides had prepared a draft to be signed at an unspecified date in the presence of

Sudanese Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Shami said the deal covered four major issues - clearing population centres of armed forces, a time frame to unify and reorganise South

Sudan's military, setting up a joint security committee, and deciding on areas where forces are to be based.

The fighting in South

Sudan

has uprooted about a quarter of its 12 million population, gutted oil production and ruined an already widely impoverished economy.

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