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South Sudanese government and rebel groups sign ‘commitment’ to peace during ongoing peace talks in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — South Sudan’s government and rebel opposition groups signed a “declaration of commitment” to peace during high-level mediation talks in Kenya on Thursday, described as a major step in efforts to end the conflict in South Sudan. to end. has paralyzed its economy for a long time.

The contents of the agreement were not made public during the signing ceremony, which was attended by diplomats and civil society groups.

The rebel groups were not part of the 2018 deal that ended South Sudan’s five-year civil war that killed 400,000 people and displaced millions.

Kenya’s Foreign Ministry said the agreement was a “first milestone” in ongoing talks in which warring sides pledged their commitment to an end to violence and hostilities.

At the start of high-level mediation talks that kicked off a week ago, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir thanked his Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto, for organizing the negotiations.

The talks are called Tumaini, Swahili for hope, Initiative and are led by former Kenyan army commander Lazarus Sumbeiywo.

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South Sudan will hold elections in December but remains politically vulnerable, partly because the 2018 peace deal has yet to be fully implemented and because conflict and violence persist in several parts of the country due to ethnic and political differences.

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