ADDIS ABABA – Sudan’s government and rebel groups signed today a landmark peace deal aimed at ending decades of war in a major event attended by several regional leaders including Ethiopian president Sahle-work Zewdie.
Sudanese paramilitary commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo signed the deal on behalf of Khartoum in the ceremony held in the South Sudanese capital Juba on Saturday.
A representative of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and others from the groups making up the coalition, also signed. The SRF comprises rebel groups from the war-ravaged western Darfur region, as well as the southern states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of foreign affairs claimed Sahle-work and her delegation attended the signing of the landmark peace deal, after a year of negotiations under the auspices of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit .
“Today we have reached a peace agreement. We are happy. We have finished the mission,” Tut Gatluak, head of the South Sudanese mediating team said shortly before the signing took place.
Apart from Sahle-Work and president of the host nation Kirr, leaders of the east african nations including Mohammed Abdullahi Farmaajo of Somalia, Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and Paul kagamiof Rwanda, have witnessed the signing of the peace accord.
Ululations and cheers rang out as one by one, representatives from the transitional government and rebel groups signed the agreement at a ceremony, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.
The peace agreement covers a number of tricky issues, from land ownership, reparations and compensation, to wealth and power sharing and the return of refugees and internally displaced people, according to AFP.
Under the deal, SRF fighters are to be slowly incorporated into joint units with government security forces. Two other well-established rebel groups did not sign, reflecting the challenges still facing the peace process.
The UN Secretary General, in his message read during the event, commended the signatories and the South Sudanese mediation despite the difficulties paused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Guterres also called on the Sudan Liberation Army Abdul Wahid Al-Nur to immediately join the peace process in his message read at the event.
Featured Image: Rebels leaders gesture after the signing of the peace agreement [Samir Bol/Reuters]