President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, on Monday, declined to sign a peace deal proposed by regional leaders, asking for 15 more days to do so.
Seyoum Mesfin, the mediator for IGAD, the East African bloc leading the talks, said despite Kiir's side objection to signing, the South Sudanese rebels did accept the terms. He was optimistic both parties would meet in Addis Ababa in two weeks “to finalize the peace agreement".
Rebel leader and Kiir’s deputy, Riek Machar, deplored continued fighting and wondered why Kiir did not accept a deal he believed is good. “He has got a good agreement," Machar told Reuters.
The United States says it regrets Kiir’s decision to ask for more time, hoping he would eventually agree to the deal. John Kirby, U.S. State Department spokesman, re-echoed President Barack Obama's to further pressure the parties, if no deal was signed by Monday.
"We are going to work with our regional and international partners on the next steps and on ways to increase pressure, especially against those that are undermining the peace process or opposing this agreement," Kirby said in Washington. President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, on Monday, declined to sign a peace deal proposed by regional leaders, asking for 15 more days to do so.