By Benjamin Takpiny
JUBA, South Sudan (AA) - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Friday appointed a key opposition leader first vice president, in line with a revitalized peace agreement reached in September 2018.
Under the agreement, South Sudan will have five vice presidents, including Riek Machar.
The incumbent government will nominate two vice presidents, while the South Sudan Opposition Alliance and the Former Detainees group will nominate one apiece.
The formation of the coalition government and subsequent full implementation of the peace accord is widely hoped to end the suffering of the people of South Sudan, a young nation that has faced years of conflict.
On Thursday, the two leaders agreed to form a unity government on Saturday and resolve all pending issues after its formation.
The parties have been trying to agree on a number of issues, including the number of states and boundaries plus a security arrangement, but the president finally decided to return the country to a system of 10 states – rather than the current 32 – for the sake of peace.
Kiir also said he will be responsible for the protection of all opposition leaders in the new government.
The number and boundaries of regional states have been a major sticking point in the long, drawn-out disagreement between South Sudan’s government and opposition forces on forming a transitional government of national unity.
South Sudan slid into crisis in December 2013 when Kiir sacked Machar as vice president on suspicion of plotting a coup, followed by a protracted civil war that claimed tens of thousands of lives and forced 4 million people to flee their homes.