A deal struck this month to form a unity transitional government in South Sudan has collapsed, rebel leader and former vice president Riek Machar said Sunday.
The agreement was broken off over President Salva Kiir's plan to create 28 new states, Machar said at a news conference in Addis Ababa, the site of long-running negotiations that have been marred by wrangling over power-sharing in the oil-rich country.
The South Sudanese government and rebels signed a peace accord in August that has been frequently violated by fighting. On January 7, the rivals agreed to set up a joint transitional government by January 22.
Machar, who was set to retake his old post as vice president under the deal, said Sunday that a unity government would not be formed until Kiir drops his plans for the new states.
Kiir announced in October that he was establishing 28 new states out of the existing 10 and that he would appoint the governors for all of them - a move that Machar says violates the August accord.
A power struggle between Kiir and his former deputy Machar turned violent mid-December 2013, with the conflict claiming tens of thousands of lives, displacing more than 2 million people and leading to charges of widespread atrocities.
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