By John Ikani
South Sudan rivals have signed an agreement on the formation of a unified armed forces command, a key pillar of a peace agreement signed in 2018.
President Salva Kiir and his rival, Vice President Riek Machar signed the pact on Sunday in the capital, Juba, following mediation by neighbouring Sudan.
“Peace is about security and today we have (achieved) a milestone,” said Martin Abucha, who signed the agreement on behalf of Machar’s opposition party the SPLM/A-IO.
“This to inform everyone that we are for peace and let all of us work for peace,” added Kiir’s security adviser Tut Gatluak.
Tensions between Kiir and Machar had recently led to clashes between their respective forces.
The deal sets out terms of integrating opposition commanders into the armed forces.
President Kiir’s faction will have a 60% representation in key positions in the army, police and security forces. Mr Machar’s SPLM-IO and other opposition groups will occupy the remaining 40%.
The opposition will submit the list of their commanders within a period of one week.
It will be followed by the graduation of the unified forces and their deployment – which should not exceed a period of two months, according to the deal.