Members of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council attend a meeting in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Tuesday hailed the latest meeting of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition group leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)
Members of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council attend a meeting in Juba, capital of South Sudan, Sept. 9, 2019. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on Tuesday hailed the latest meeting of South Sudan's President Salva Kiir Mayardit and opposition group leader Riek Machar in Juba, capital of South Sudan. (Xinhua/Denis Elamu)

China has welcomed the progress made towards peace in conflict-torn South Sudan after the country’s leaders agreed to form a much-awaited transitional unity government on Feb. 22.

President Salva Kiir and arch-rival Riek Machar on Thursday agreed to form the power-sharing government, after being delayed twice last year over outstanding issues such as the number of states and security arrangements.

The Chinese embassy in South Sudan commended Kiir for compromising on the critical issues of the number states, which was a major sticking point to the September 2018 peace deal.

“The Chinese side commends and welcomes these encouraging developments, especially the crucial consensus reached between President Kiir and Machar,” the embassy said in a statement issued on Thursday night.

“This is a courageous move that demonstrates the will and determination of President Kiir and the South Sudanese Government in continuously advancing the peace process in South Sudan,” it added.

Kiir and Machar’s opposition group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO), had disagreed over the number of states the east African country should have, but that deadlock was broken last week after Kiir abolished the 32 states he created in 2015 and reverted to the original 10 states.

China pledged to continue support South Sudan’s peace process and urged the signatories to the peace deal to continue the dialogue in good faith and address the pending issues.

“We trust that the relevant parties of South Sudan will be able to resolve the remaining issues in the spirit of mutual trust and understanding and start a new chapter in the history of South Sudan,” the embassy said.

Since signing of the peace agreement in September 2018, China has provided diplomatic and in-kind support, which consists of 1,500 tons of rice, 2,500 tents, 50,000 blankets and 1,440 cartons of medicine to South Sudan.

“China will continue to work with IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development), the African Union and the international community to firmly support the government and people of South Sudan in their efforts to achieve peace, development and prosperity of the country,” it said.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013, after President Salva Kiir sacked his deputy Riek Machar, leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to the respective leader. Enditem

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