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South Sudan president, ex-rebel leader to delay formation of unity government - Uganda

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By Reuters

KAMPALA (Reuters) – South Sudan’s president and a former rebel leader agreed on Thursday to delay forming a unity government for 100 days beyond the Nov. 12 deadline, Uganda’s presidency said, buying time after concerns that war could resume if the two sides were pushed.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar met in Uganda in a last-ditch effort to resolve outstanding disputes preventing the formation of a coalition government by the deadline.

Kiir and Machar signed a peace deal in September 2018 under pressure from the United Nations, United States and regional governments.

South Sudan, which is rich in oil resources, plunged into civil war in 2013 after Kiir sacked Machar as vice president. The conflict killed an estimated 400,000 people, triggered a famine and created Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

Both sides blame each other for not meeting milestones stipulated by the peace deal, especially the integration of different fighting forces.

Thursday’s meeting “was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere”, the Ugandan statement said.

Both sides agreed that there were “incomplete critical tasks” related to the deal, particularly related to “security arrangements and governance”, it added.

(Additional reporting by Denis Dumo in Juba; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Frances Kerry)