South Sudan rivals sign new ceasefire deal

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Addis Ababa, 27 August 2014 (WIC) - South Sudan's warring leaders have signed a fresh ceasefire deal vowing to end more than eight months of conflict, according to mediators who threatened sanctions should the agreement fail once again.

East Africa's regional IGAD bloc, which mediated the talks between President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar, called on the leaders to forge a unity government within 45 days.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than 1.8 million have fled civil war sparked by a power struggle between Kiir and Machar, who met on Monday for the first time in more than two months.

An IGAD communiqué welcomed the "signature by the warring parties" to the deal, "which obliges the parties to bring the conflict to an end".

"As a region, we have to show any party which violates agreements that there are consequences to misbehaviour," Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said at the summit of east African leaders.

"We are sending a clear message to the leaders of South Sudan. So delaying in the procedure will not be acceptable - if not the region will take action."

Kiir and Machar last met in June, when they agreed to form a unity government within 60 days. They missed that deadline amid continuing war.

The United Nations has said the food crisis is the "worst in the world", and aid workers warn of the risk of famine if the conflict continues.

 

The IGAD communiqué expressed "serious concerns over the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan where millions face famine, and which presents a threat to the national security of the entire region".

Regional leaders at the summit included Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni. (Aljazeera.com)