South Sudan Divides Cabinet Jobs in Transitional Government

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir announced a new cabinet in a power-sharing government that includes former rebels, in a sign of progress toward ending more than two years of conflict.

Allies of Vice President Riek Machar, a former rebel leader, secured the petroleum and interior cabinet posts, while members of Kiir’s party will get the defence and finance portfolios, according to a decree read on state television on Thursday. Another group of opposition members will fill the top spots at foreign affairs and agriculture, it said. The Cabinet will be sworn-in on Friday.

A peace agreement signed by Kiir and Machar in August expands the government to 30 ministerial positions and parliament to 400 members. Their joint administration is supposed to improve economic management, boost security, reduce corruption and stamp out human-rights abuses before elections within 30 months.

Machar returned to the capital on Tuesday, after repeated delays in the peace process, and was inaugurated as first vice president, a role he held until Kiir fired him months before the conflict erupted in late 2013. The war has killed tens of thousands of people, forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes and cut oil production by at least a third to about 160,000 barrels per day.

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