South Sudanese leaders have signed a roadmap, extending the transitional period of their peace agreement for 24 months – starting from 22 February 2023.
President Salva Kiir and his former arch-rival, Riek Machar, now first-vice president, and other signatories signed the new roadmap in the capital Juba on Thursday afternoon.
The extension of the transitional period means South Sudan will not hold long awaited elections in February next year.
According to the new deal, an election will be held in December 2024.
The current transitional period expires on 22 February 2023 – and it was expected to culminate with a general election, but the leaders have decided to extend the terms of the agreement again.
The unity government in South Sudan was formed in February 2020, but it is yet to create a unified national army of up to 83,000 troops, which was a key pillar of the peace deal.
But according to the new deal, about 53,000 soldiers will be enrolled into the army, starting this month.
Last month the US pulled out of South Sudan’s peace process monitoring mechanisms. It was a major donor of the process – providing aviation services and logistics.
The US State Department accuses South Sudan’s leaders of failing to meet key reform milestones of the agreement they signed in September 2018 to end five years of conflict.
The heads of missions of the US, UK and Norway – known as the Troika for South Sudan – boycotted the event.