KHARTOUM, Sudan – South Sudan's warring sides have reached an agreement on security arrangements amid talks on a peace deal to end a five-year civil war, Sudan's official news agency reported Thursday.
The talks between South Sudan President Salva Kiir and former deputy-turned-armed opposition leader Riek Machar in Khartoum, mediated by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and the East African regional bloc, are a continuation of their first face-to-face meeting in almost two years.
Last month Kiir and Machar agreed on a "permanent" cease-fire that began Saturday and was violated within hours.
The SUNA news agency quoted Sudanese army spokesman Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami as saying Kiir and Machar were expected to sign the new draft agreement in the presence of al-Bashir. The timing had yet to be announced.
Al-Shami said the rivals reached "consensus" on all points of the agreement including clearing civilian centers of military presence, deciding on a timeframe for reorganizing and unifying security forces, setting up a joint security committee and determining the forces' assembly areas.
The two sides have yet to agree on any power-sharing agreement, and South Sudan's government has rejected the idea of Machar returning yet again as Kiir's deputy.
Kenya is expected to host further talks in the coming weeks.
South Sudan's civil war has killed tens of thousands and created Africa's largest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Millions are near famine and aid delivery is often blocked in one of the world's most dangerous countries for humanitarian workers.
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