Feb. 22 (UPI) -- South Sudan formed a unity government Saturday with the swearing in of rebel leader Riek Machar as vice president, a potential step toward ending civil.
President Salva Kiir selected Machar as his deputy six years after the two split over allegations of a coup d'etat plot by the latter. The split devolved into fighting, sparking the county's civil war, with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition gaining control of swaths of northeastern and eastern South Sudan.
"This action signifies the official end of the war and we can now declare a new dawn in South Sudan," Kiir said at the ceremony. "Peace has come to stay, not to be shaken ever again in this nation."
Kiir dissolved his government Friday before naming Machar as vice president. The decision came after negotiations that saw the president accept reversing the decision to divide the nation into 32 states. The country will return to its original 10 states with three administrative areas.
The division of states was the major hangup in a peace agreement originally negotiated in 2017.
South Sudan's civil war displaced more than 2.2 million people into other countries and made more than 1.4 million without homes.