PRETORIA, -- The African Union (AU) has welcomed South Sudan's transitional Government of National Unity (GNU) which was sworn into office on Friday.

The GNU will see South Sudanese President Salva Kiir sharing power with ex-rebels in a key step in a long-delayed peace process.

Under the terms of an August 2015 peace accord signed between the government and the ex-rebels, the 30 ministerial posts are split between Kiir, former rebel chief turned First Vice-President Riek Machar, opposition and other parties.

AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, in a statement received here over the weekend, hailed "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," she added.

With the establishment of the transitional GNU, South Sudan has 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, needs to be given top priority, she said.

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

The AU 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 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 then.

Source: Name News Network

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