The government of South Sudan has allocated $40 million to speed up the integration of its soldiers with armed opposition fighters to create a unified national army as the country emerges from a five-year civil war.
This comes amid face-to-face talks between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar in the capital, Juba. Their talks are expected to continue today on another key part of a peace deal that is yet to be resolved, the number of states.
The international community has been pressing the rival sides to form a coalition government as a crucial part of the peace deal signed last year. A November deadline to form that government was extended to February.
Civil war broke out in oil-producing South Sudan in 2013 – less than two years after the country gained independence from Sudan following decades of war – after Kiir sacked Machar as vice president accusing him of plotting a coup.
The conflict has killed an estimated 400,000 people and forced roughly four million people from their homes.
The $40 million is part of $100 million pledged by Kiir’s government to help fund the peace process.