South Sudan’s rebel leader, Riek Machar, has agreed to return to the role of Vice President as part of peace talks with the country’s president that could end nearly five years of civil war, his spokesman said on Sunday.
Machar will be reinstated as vice president, a position he left in 2013, triggering a civil war in the East African nation.
President Salva Kiir, Machar’s former foe, will remain the leader of the war-torn nation, said Machar’s spokesman, Lam Gabriel Paul.
“The parties have agreed that four vice presidents will be created and Dr Riek Machar will be reinstated as first Vice President of South Sudan,” Lam told dpa.
The decision follows weekend talks mediated by Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, at the Ugandan president’s home in Entebbe.
Kiir’s spokesman, Ateny Wek Ateny, said the agreement was “inclusive” because it made provision for four vice presidents.
A similar deal in 2015 failed the following year after Machar returned to the capital Juba, but disagreements quickly developed, reigniting fighting.
A ceasefire agreed earlier this month was violated mere hours after it came into force.
South Sudan became the world’s youngest country after splitting from Sudan in 2011 but descended into civil war just two years later.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and about four million South Sudanese displaced.