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South Sudan

A deal under duress

The combatants have signed up to a ceasefire more because they ran out of options than because they wanted peace

The threat of targeted sanctions against the combatants and the concern of East Africa's leaders that they would lose face at next week's African Union summit were the driving forces behind the signing of the ceasefire accord in the South Sudan conflict. Neither those supporting President Salva Kiir Mayardit nor the factions behind his rival, ex-­Vice President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, had shown any commitment to ending the fighting before their representatives signed the ceasefire in Addis Ababa on the evening of 23 January. They also signed an agreement 'to undertake every effort to expedite the release of the detainees'. Of course, only the government can release the eleven Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) dissidents it holds.

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