South Sudan Gov’t and Rebels Agree to Cease-Fire

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 23 2014 6:15 PM

South Sudan Gov’t and Rebels Agree to Cease-Fire

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South Sudanese People Liberation Army (SPLA) soldier on patrol in Malakal on January 21, 2014.

Photo by HARRISON NGETHI/AFP/Getty Images

After five weeks of fighting, South Sudan’s government and rebels agreed to a cease-fire on Thursday. Political differences erupted into violence on Dec. 15, spreading across the country, killing thousands of soldiers and civilians, and displacing an estimated 500,000 South Sudanese. The peace agreement is the first sign of progress in resolving the conflict, the Associated Press reports, but “questions were immediately raised about whether all fighters in South Sudan would abide by the agreement, and how long others would follow it.” Both sides have said the agreed halt to the fighting was a temporary measure, however, and negotiations would continue to solidify a formal long-term peace deal, according to the New York Times. “Neighboring countries and global powers, including the United States, China and the United Nations, placed significant pressure on the parties to reach an agreement, fearing that the fighting could escalate into a protracted civil war or even a wider regional conflict,” the Times reports.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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