South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) and major opposition leader Riek Machar (L front) sign on the final deal on power-sharing and security arrangements between South Sudan's conflicting parties, in Khartoum, capital of Sudan, Aug. 5, 2018. (Xinhua/Mohamed Khidir)
JUBA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Talks between South Sudan's government and opposition factions on pending issues in the recently signed power sharing and ceasefire agreements are making progress amid hope of a final peace deal, a senior government official at the talks said on Thursday.
Michael Makuei Lueth, Government spokesman said the final peace talks on the unresolved issues of local governance, number of states and creation of five additional ministries are moving well in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.
"We have made a very good progress and there is likelihood of us concluding the peace agreement," Makuei told state-owned radio, South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC) Thursday morning.
South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, his rival Riek Machar and several opposition parties on Aug. 5 inked a new power sharing formula and ceasefire deal.
Under the new deal, former deputy president Machar is to be reinstated as first vice president and other four vice presidents' slots shared between the government and the opposition.
The expanded government is aimed at accommodating several rival groups fighting the Kiir administration.
But the warring factions are still engaged in further talks mediated by East African regional bloc, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to tackle key areas of disagreement before coming up with a final peace agreement.
The Sudanese mediation team last week extended the talks to Aug. 19, and Makuei said the South Sudanese government is optimistic of addressing the pending issues within the stipulated period.
"The draft agreement and implementation matrix will be out for consideration by the parties and we are optimistic that we will be in position to conclude all these before the coming week," Makuei added.
South Sudan descended into civil war in late 2013, and the conflict has created one of the fastest growing refugee crises in the world. The UN estimates that about 4 million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 between the rival leaders under United Nations pressure led to the establishment of a transitional unity government, but was shattered by renewed fighting in July 2016.