South Sudan rivals Kiir and Machar agree peace deal

South Sudan"s President Salva Kiir (left) and rebel leader Riek Machar with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (right) at the signing ceremony in Addis Ababa, 9 May 2014 Both leaders will issue orders for their troops to end combat

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar have agreed a peace deal after a five-month conflict.

The deal calls for an immediate truce and the formation of a transitional government ahead of the drafting of a new constitution and new elections.

The conflict in the world's newest state has left thousands dead and more than one million homeless.

A ceasefire agreed in January collapsed within days, with both sides accusing each other of restarting the fighting.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday's agreement "could mark a breakthrough for the future of South Sudan".

"The hard journey on a long road begins now and the work must continue," added Mr Kerry, who played an instrumental role in bringing together the two sides.

South Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier patrols in Malakal on 21 January 2014 Rebel and government forces have been fighting since December in the world's newest state
Members of the White Army, a South Sudanese anti-government militia, attend a rally in Nasir (14 April 2014) Members of the White Army anti-government militia. The conflict has left thousands dead

The UN has accused both the South Sudanese government and the rebels of crimes against humanity, including mass killings and gang-rape.

The rivals signed the deal in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa late on Friday, after their first face-to-face meeting since the hostilities began.

The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza in Addis Ababa says the agreement calls for a cessation of hostilities within 24 hours of the signing. A permanent ceasefire will then be worked on.

Mr Kiir and Mr Machar are to issue immediate orders for troops to end combat and to allow in humanitarian aid.

It was not immediately clear who would form the transitional administration.

'Widespread atrocities'

The deal was also signed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who hosted the talks.

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They said they wanted to rape me because when Dinka soldiers came here they did the same”

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Leading mediator Seyoum Mesfin, from the regional Igad bloc, congratulated Mr Kiir and Mr Machar for "ending the war".

However, African Union official Smail Chergui warned that "given the current crisis, the restoration of peace in South Sudan will not be easy".

A UN report released on Thursday said that "widespread and systematic" atrocities had been carried out by both sides in homes, hospitals, mosques, churches and UN compounds.

It called for those responsible to be held accountable.

An estimated five million people are in need of aid, the UN says.

The violence began when President Kiir accused his sacked deputy Mr Machar of plotting a coup.

Mr Machar denied the allegation, but then marshalled a rebel army to fight the government.

The BBC outlines the background to South Sudan's crisis - in 60 seconds.

The battle assumed ethnic overtones, with Mr Machar relying heavily on fighters from his Nuer ethnic group and Mr Kiir from his Dinka community.

The UN has about 8,500 peacekeepers in South Sudan. However, they have struggled to contain the conflict.

South Sudan gained independence in 2011, breaking away from Sudan after decades of conflict between rebels and the Khartoum government.

It remains one of the world's poorest countries.

Map of South Sudan states affected by conflict Fighting erupted in the South Sudan capital, Juba, in mid-December. It followed a political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar. The squabble has taken on an ethnic dimension as politicians' political bases are often ethnic.
News graphic showing the ethnic groups of South Sudan Sudan's arid north is mainly home to Arabic-speaking Muslims. But in South Sudan there is no dominant culture. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 200 ethnic groups, each with its own languages and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.
Map showing the location of oil fields in South Sudan Both Sudan and the South are reliant on oil revenue, which accounts for 98% of South Sudan's budget. They have fiercely disagreed over how to divide the oil wealth of the former united state - at one time production was shutdown for more than a year. Some 75% of the oil lies in the South but all the pipelines run north.
Map showing the geography of South Sudan The two Sudans are very different geographically. The great divide is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. South Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.
Map showing access to water in South Sudan After gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan is the world's newest country - and one of its poorest. Figures from 2010 show some 69% of households now have access to clean water - up from 48% in 2006. However, just 2% of households have water on the premises.
Map showing education levels in South Sudan Just 29% of children attend primary school in South Sudan - however, this is also an improvement on the 16% recorded in 2006. About 32% of primary-age boys attend, while just 25% of girls do. Overall, 64% of children who begin primary school reach the last grade.
Map showing food insecurity rates in South Sudan Almost 28% of children under the age of five in South Sudan are moderately or severely underweight. This compares with the 33% recorded in 2006. Unity state has the highest proportion of children suffering malnourishment (46%), while Central Equatoria has the lowest (17%).

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