The agreement was reached between the government led by President Salva Kiir and rebels loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar after weeks of negotiations in the Ethiopian capital.

With the help of regional mediators, the two sides agreed to end deadly fighting that has killed thousands and displaced half a million people since mid December.

African mediators with the East African Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said the two sides had agreed to end hostilities within 24 hours.

Nhial Deng Nhial, chief negotiator of the South Sudanese government delegation, and Gen. Taban Deng Gai, head of the rebels' delegation signed the agreement following direct negotiations that started on January 4.

"We all are here to witness the signing of agreements on the cessation of hostilities and a question of detainees by the South Sudanese parties who have been engaged in negotiations for the last three testing weeks," said Seyoum Mesfin, chief mediator of IGAD.


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