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South Sudan's Rival Leaders Agree To Cease-Fire


A cease-fire deal was signed today in South Sudan, a bid to end a bloody conflict that's devastated the country. It's supposed to be finalized March 5. But as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports, it's not clear how much progress has actually been made.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: East African mediators announced the agreement early today after yet another round of talks between representatives of Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and his political adversary and erstwhile vice president, Riek Machar. The cease-fire deal edges them closer to a final deal to end almost 15 months of violence that have devastated the world's youngest nation. Ateng Wek Ateng speaks for the president.

ATENG WEK ATENG: This agreement, it is a roadmap.

QUIST-ARCTON: Diplomatic sources say the interim deal sets out how the two rival leaders might rebuild trust and share power after the formation of an interim government. South Sudanese political analyst, Peter Biar Ajak, told the BBC he is not impressed.


PETER BIAR AJAK: They haven't really agreed on the fundamental issues, but both parties are quite aware that devastating atrocities were committed. And there's a general agreement that those who bear greatest responsibilities should be held accountable.

QUIST-ARCTON: Tens of thousands of South Sudanese have been displaced by the fighting. They're praying for peace. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Accra. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is an award-winning broadcaster from Ghana and is NPR's Africa Correspondent. She describes herself as a "jobbing journalist"—who's often on the hoof, reporting from somewhere.