Both sides to the South Sudanese conflict, the government and rebels, signed a ceasefire agreement on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, scheduled to go into effect within 24 hours.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development announced earlier Thursday "There will be a signing ceremony of agreements on cessation of hostilities and question of detainees between the South Sudanese parties."
The Sudanese government took to Twitter to convey its gratitude to IGAD for convening and facilitating the weeks-long negotiations. It also tweeted a message to rebel leader and former South Sudanese Vice President Riek Machar.
With ceasefire, we hope @Drriekmachar & his group lay down their weapons & come back to participating in building of our new nation— Gov of South Sudan (@RepSouthSudan) January 23, 2014
Both sides agreed the ceasefire would be temporary, with additional negotiations necessary to reach a more permanent agreement.
Although the prospect of renewed violence looms, opposition spokesman Mabior Garang views the temporary cease-fire as an opportunity to better facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid "and it will give us an opportunity to explain the conflict to the people, about the objectives of the struggle."
Talks are expected to resume February 7.
Violence broke out in South Sudan on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his fired deputy, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup. Fighting between forces loyal to the two men has continued since December, with the political dispute devolving into an ethnic conflict. Thousands have died and an estimated 500,000 displaced.
[Financial Times] [BBC]