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South Sudan Rebel Chief Approves Peace Deal With Rival Kiir

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South Sudan Rebel Chief Approves Peace Deal With Rival Kiir

South Sudanese rebel chief Riek Machar on Thursday approved a peace deal with Juba that is expected to be formally signed at a summit of regional leaders, a Sudanese mediator said.

Machar and arch-foe South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir have held weeks of talks in Khartoum in search of a comprehensive peace deal to end the conflict, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions since 2013.

The warring parties have already inked several agreements, including a permanent ceasefire and a power-sharing deal that sees Machar returning as first vice president.

Machar had initially refused to approve the deal on Tuesday, before finally agreeing to it after mediation by Khartoum.

The deal has already been approved by Juba, and on Thursday Machar’s group and representatives of some other rebel factions initialled it, an AFP correspondent reported.

“The final signing of the peace deal will happen at a summit of IGAD,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Al-Dierdiry Ahmed said, referring to the East African bloc that has pushed the latest initiative to end the war.

“The date for the summit will be announced soon,” he said, adding negotiations in Khartoum had now ended.

On Tuesday, Machar and other opposition groups said they had some reservations concerning the accord that had not been acknowledged.

The rebels had differences over the functioning of a proposed transitional government, how many states the country should be divided into and on the writing of a new constitution.

“The concerns of these parties will be discussed at IGAD summit,” Ahmed said.

Earlier this month, Kiir and Machar signed a power-sharing deal that will see the rebel leader return as the first of five vice presidents.

That accord paved the way for drafting of a final peace deal and is expected to lead to the formation of a transitional government to be in power until elections are held.

South Sudan spiralled into a devastating civil war little over two years after it became independent from Sudan in 2011.

The conflict pitted Kiir against Machar after Kiir accused his former deputy of plotting a coup.

It has seen widespread rape and murder of civilians, often along ethnic lines, and uprooted roughly a third of the population.

A succession of peace deals have been signed between the two leaders only to be broken, most recently in December.

African News

Sudan’s President Visits Damascus For The First Time

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Sudan's President Visits Damascus For The First Time

For the first time, an Arab leader, Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has visited Damascus since the Syrian war began eight years ago.

He was received in the capital by Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad. The two leaders are said to have discussed relations and issues of common interest to Arab countries.

Al-Bashir is reported to have expressed the hope at their meeting that Syria will soon regain its leading role in the region.  He is also said to have promised his country’s support to protect Syria’s territorial integrity.

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Ghana Opens First Round Of Bidding For Exploratory Licenses

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Ghana Opens First Round Of Bidding For Exploratory Licenses

President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the opening of the country’s first open and competitive round of bidding for energy exploration licenses, with three offshore blocks being offered. Previously, Ghana had awarded leases through a closed negotiation process.

All of the blocks are located in ghana’s central basin. To undertake the exploration and extraction.

Bidders have to show financial capacity and technical expertise and present a timetable for their exploration and development program.

President Akufo-Addo also announced a review of all licensing agreements covering blocks that were inactive, where concession holders had not undertaken the required exploratory or development work.

This move could see a number of blocks re-enter the market, either through competitive bidding or direct negotiations, generating further interest in the upstream component of the industry from both independent operators and major players.

Although the development of these offshore sites will require significant investment, rising international oil prices could well justify the expense.

Development of major offshore oilfields is set to boost export earnings and stimulate investment inflows.

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Namibia National Council Chairperson Tasks MPs On Safe Driving

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Namibia National Council Chairperson Tasks MPs On Safe Driving

As the Namibian National Council adjourned for the holidays on Thursday, chairperson margaret mensah-williams gave an unusual advise to members of parliament. She asked them to take the lead by being safe drivers and obey traffic rules.  She especially harped on obeying speed limits.

She referred to some highways in the country that have historically recorded high numbers of accidents, some of which had involved members of parliament.  One of such fatal accidents recently occurred on the country’s b-one highway.

Mensah-williams advised everyone to be responsible drivers this holiday season, asking drivers to be more patient on the roads.  She said it is unacceptable that road accidents have become the leading causes of death in the country.

She warns against drinking and driving and gender-based violence, appealing to namibians not to rape, kill or abuse their partners and children in anyway whatsoever.

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