South Sudan’s warring parties agree deal on security arrangements

United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) personnel guard South Sudanese people displaced by recent fighting in Jabel, on the outskirts of capital Juba December 23, 2013. Clashes between rival groups of soldiers in Juba a week ago have spread across the country, which won its independence from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war. President Salva Kiir, from South Sudan's Dinka ethnic group, has accused former Vice President Riek Machar, a Nuer whom he dismissed in July, of trying to launch a coup. Machar dismissed the charge but has since said he is commanding troops fighting the government. REUTERS/James Akena (SOUTH SUDAN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) - RTX16SI7

As part of efforts to end nearly five years of civil war, South Sudan’s government and rebels have reached a deal on security arrangements during talks in Khartoum; this is according to the Sudanese state news agency SUNA.

SUNA on Thursday evening quoted Sudanese army spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami as saying that the two South Sudanese sides had finalised a deal on security arrangements and prepared a draft to be signed at an unspecified date in the presence of Sudanese Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Last month President Salva Kiir signed a framework agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar in Khartoum providing for a ceasefire, paving the way for talks towards a full treaty.

But rebels immediately rejected some elements of the accord and both sides have accused each other of violating the truce, trading blame for attacks that have killed 18 civilians.

The talks have since been hosted by Sudan, from which South Sudan declared independence in 2011 after decades of bloodshed. South Sudan itself plunged into war two years later after a political dispute between the two political nemeses exploded into military confrontation.

The deal is said to be covering four major issues – clearing population centres of armed forces, a time frame to unify and reorganize South Sudan’s military, setting up a joint security committee, and deciding on areas where forces are to be based.

The fighting in South Sudan has uprooted about a quarter of its 12 million population, gutted oil production and ruined an already widely impoverished economy.

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