South Sudan Makes Peace Deal With Rebels

President Salva Kiir agrees to peace after 5 months of fighting

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted May 9, 2014 4:20 PM CDT

(Newser) – Finally, peace in South Sudan? President Salva Kiir agreed to a peace deal today with rebel leader Riek Machar after five months of fighting, thousands killed, and a million forced to flee their homes, the BBC reports. Signed in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, the deal includes drafting a new constitution, calling for new elections, and creating a transitional government—but who will form the government isn't clear yet. In their first face-to-face meeting since fighting started, Kiir and Machar shook hands and prayed together, Reuters reports.

The deal comes a day after the United Nations released a report saying both sides had committed atrocities "on a massive scale," including gang-rapes and mass killings, the New York Times reports. "Civilians were not only caught up in the violence, they were directly targeted, often along ethnic lines," the report said. The report called for sanctions and noted that since the government was involved in atrocities, the UN could no longer support the fledgling nation and must take a neutral stance. Now, with the peace deal, the government and rebels have agreed to let UN aid into the country.

Some of hundreds of government soldiers board trucks, as they prepare to travel for the frontline near the town of Bor from the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jake Simkin)
South Sudan's President Salva Kiir speaks to the media at a press conference in Juba, South Sudan Monday, Jan 20, 2014.   (AP Photo/Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin)
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