By Addis Getachew
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and his main rivals signed a deal to share power in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Wednesday.
The agreement came during the 33rd summit of the the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an eight-country East African trade bloc based in Djibouti that mediated the South Sudanese peace process.
There will be a transitional period of 36 months for the revitalized deal which will begin eight months after it is signed.
The 122-page final agreement, dubbed “Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in S. Sudan/ARCSS”, will replace the “Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in S. Sudan”, signed in August of 2015.
The R-ARCSS has the issues of key power sharing and security arrangements resolved, which leads to the establishment of a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity/R-TGoNU and changing the incumbent TGoNU.
According to the power sharing agreement, the R-TGoNU will have 20 ministries led by the incumbent government of Kiir, nine ministries by the Sudanese People Liberation Movement/Army- in-opposition (SPLM/A-IO), and six ministries by other political actors in the country.
“Salva Kiir Mayardit shall continue as the President of the Republic of South Sudan; the Chairman of SPLM/A-IO Dr Riek Machar Teny shall assume the position of the First Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan,” the agreement reads; adding four other vice presidents would also be named.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh, and South Sudanese President Kiir attended the summit.
Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President and chairman of the African Union, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission were also among the participants.
South Sudan declared independence from Sudan following a referendum in 2011.
South Sudan slid into civil war since mid-December 2013, in a fallout between incumbent president Kiir and his then deputy-turned-rebel-leader Riek Machar.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 under a mediation by IGAD, was short-lived as Machar fled Juba and entered Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in fear of his life in mid-2016, which saw renewed fighting quickly spread across the nascent nation.
According to the UN, 1.74 million South Sudanese have been internally displaced by the conflict, while 2.47 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.