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AU welcomes S. Sudan’s new government formation

May 2, 2016 (JUBA/ADDIS ABABA) - The African Union (AU) has welcomed South Sudan’s transitional government of national unity that was sworn into office Friday.

Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission (Photo: Reuters)

The newly formed government will see South Sudanese President Salva Kiir sharing power with former rebels in a key step in a long-delayed peace process.

Under terms of an August 2015 peace deal, the 30 ministerial posts are split between Kiir, former rebel chief turned first vice president Riek Machar, opposition and other parties.

"The chairperson hails this major step which will greatly facilitate the process of tackling the challenges facing the country. The horrendous war that raged in the country for over two-and-a-half years has brought about the destruction of the infant economy, social and political paralysis, as well as a dire humanitarian situation,” AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement on Saturday.

With the establishment of the transitional government, South Sudan entered the most critical phase in the implementation of the peace agreement, in which the consolidation of peace and reconciliation, as well as the undertaking of post-conflict reconstruction and economic recovery in the country, needed to be given top priority.

"In this respect, the chairperson calls upon all AU member states to provide the necessary support for this demanding endeavor," the AU said.

The continental body further underscored the role of the international community, as a whole, in mobilising the necessary resources for supporting South Sudan as it opened a new chapter in its history and sought to rebuild itself.

The AU’s further committed to continue to do everything possible to support the South Sudanese parties and stakeholders as they strive to end the bitter legacy of the war and achieve lasting peace, reconciliation, and economic recovery in their country.

South Sudan erupted into civil war in December 2013, six months after Kiir fired Machar as vice president. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and more than two million others displaced from their homes since the outbreak of the conflict.