President Salva Kiir fails to sign South Sudan peace accord as deadline passes

Despite intense regional and international pressure, the President of South Sudan has asked mediators to give him and his government 15 more days before they can sign on to the new peace deal to end the 20-month conflict in the world’s and Africa’s newest nation.

His chief rival in the conflict, rebel leader and former vice president of South Sudan Riek Machar has signed the agreement Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The warring leaders had been under pressure to sign a lasting agreement before the end Monday, August 17 deadline or face international sanctions.

Reports from Addis Ababa indicate President Kiir and his government side initialed the “compromise document” but requested two more weeks for consultations back home before they can complete the signing of the document.

Mediators, regional and international stakeholders had anticipated the leaders would rise up to the occasion and agree and sign the deal.

Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Chief Facilitator, Seyoum Mesfin nonetheless considers the partial signing of the deal by one side “a great day in the forward movement of the peace process in South Sudan.”

Mesfin told the media in Addis Ababa the government side still has reservations and thus a request for more time for further consultations.

Monday’s IGAD talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia brought together leaders of South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, and US, UK, China, Norway, EU and AU representatives among others

Before leaving for Ethiopia Sunday, the South Sudanese leader Kiir had warned he might not sign on to the highly anticipated agreement Monday because not all those who are fighting his government support the negotiations.

“A peace that cannot be sustained cannot be signed,” Kiir told AFP adding “You should sign something that you will enjoy. If it is signed today and then tomorrow we go back to war, then what have we achieved?”