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South Sudan president announces unity Cabinet

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) meets with former rebel leader Riek Machar (L) in Juba, South Sudan, on October 19. File Photo courtesy of STR/EPA-EFE
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir (R) meets with former rebel leader Riek Machar (L) in Juba, South Sudan, on October 19. File Photo courtesy of STR/EPA-EFE

March 12 (UPI) -- South Sudanese President Salva Kiir announced the formation of the country's unity government Thursday.

Under a new arrangement, Kiir will have control of 20 ministries in the Cabinet, while Vice President Riek Machar's Sudan People's Liberation Movement-in-Opposition Party will control nine.

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Last month, Kiir renamed Machar as his deputy as part of a peace agreement. The two split over allegations of a coup d'etat plot by Machar six years ago.

The split devolved into fighting, sparking the county's civil war, with the opposition group gaining control of swaths of northeastern and eastern South Sudan.

Machar's wife, Angelina Teny, was named defense minister and his aide, Puot Kong, was appointed petroleum minister.

Kiir dissolved his government in February 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.

Kiir previously welcomed back Machar to the vice presidency in 2016 in an attempt at a power sharing agreement, but he was replaced less than a year later citing accusations of another coup plot.

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South Sudan's civil war displaced more than 2.2 million people into other countries and made more than 1.4 million without homes.

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