Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

World Pressures South Sudan to End Civil War by Sept. 1

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

World Pressures South Sudan to End Civil War by Sept. 1

Article excerpt

With the government of South Sudan accusing rebels of new attacks Wednesday, the international community is in a last ditch effort to convince President Salva Kiir to agree to a peace deal by Sept. 1 and end one of the world's most destructive conflicts.

On Monday a peace deal to end the civil war seemed tantalizingly close as Mr. Kiir sat with rebel leader Riek Machar in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The power-sharing agreement on the table was backed by nearly every relevant player, including the United Nations, East African mediation group IGAD, the African Union, European Union, United States, China, and a host of influential local civil society groups.

Rebel leader Mr. Machar signed. But Kiir balked, saying he needed 15 more days.

Chief IGAD mediator Seyoum Mesfin Wednesday called Kiir's delay "mind boggling," though some analysts say the president has more to lose.

South Sudan's war largely pits Kiir's Dinka followers against Machar's Nuer allies. Over 18-months some 50,000 people have been killed and two million displaced in a conflict notorious for its brutality.

Best deal for rebelsFor Machar, the IGAD Plus proposal, as it is known, that is coming out of Addis Ababa, is likely the best deal he could get, according to International Crisis Group researcher Casie Copeland. Not only will the deal on the table end the suffering of Nuer civilians who are currently under attack in Unity state, it would also give Machar a slot as vice-president.

But for Kiir, the agreement puts him at odds with important domestic constituents, including top general Paul Malong and the Dinka Council of Elders. They oppose power sharing and the demilitarization of the capital Juba, where the war began between rival army factions.

On Tuesday, government spokesperson Michael Makuei dismissed the deal as a "sell out."

"The government may not come back with any interest in a deal under any terms," Ms. …

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