South Sudan President Salva Kiir Refuses to Sign Peace Deal

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South Sudanese President Salva Kiir refused to sign a peace agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar to end a 20-month civil war, a government official said.

“People were looking to see a document signed and peace reached, but this is not going to happen today,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol Arik said by phone from Juba, South Sudan’s capital. Differences about the structure of the army, demilitarization and the system of governance in the oil-rich Upper Nile state are blocking a deal, Arik said.

The U.S. and other nations had threatened new sanctions if the warring parties failed to meet a deadline on Monday.

Machar signed the agreement in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, rebel spokesman Mabior Garang said in a text message. Mediators have allowed a request by Kiir for 15 more days to go home for consultations and consider his options, according to an e-mailed statement from the Kenyan presidency, one of the regional governments helping broker the talks.

South Sudan’s government said last week a breakthrough by the deadline was unlikely because the two sides couldn’t agree on a range of issues, including the division of positions in a power-sharing arrangement.

South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc data. Violence has cut crude output by at least a third to about 165,000 barrels per day, the Petroleum Ministry said in May.

Peace Support

Kiir and Machar held talks in Addis Ababa with President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Umar al-Bashir of Sudan and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Kenyatta urged foreign governments to recognize that South Sudan has shown its commitment to finding a peaceful solution.

“Let me also urge the international community to fully support the process to ensure sustainable peace in the region and the continent,” Kenyatta said in an e-mailed statement after the talks ended Monday.

Fighting that erupted in December 2013 between government forces and rebels after Kiir accused his former deputy Machar of plotting to topple him has left tens of thousands of people dead. A split last week within the ranks of the main rebel group led by Machar complicates efforts to reach an accord.

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