South Sudan President Salva Kiir has signed a peace deal with rebels, after 20 months since the start of fighting between loyalist forces and rebels led by his former deputy.

Kiir signed the agreement in Juba, the South Sudan capital, in a ceremony witnessed by regional leaders on Wednesday. Kiir's opponent, former Deputy President Riek Machar, signed the agreement last week in Ethiopia but Kiir asked for more time to consult supporters.

Kiir has been under intense international pressure to sign the agreement mediated by a group of neighboring states, with the U.S. threatening new U.N. sanctions if he failed to do so.

The agreement binds Kiir into a power-sharing arrangement with Machar, whose dismissal in July 2013 sparked a political crisis that later boiled over into a violent rebellion.