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Sep 30, 9:28 AM EDT

South Sudan factions agree on federal government


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BAHIR DAR, Ethiopia (AP) -- South Sudan's warring factions have agreed on the installation of a federal system of government in South Sudan, mediators announced Tuesday, saying progress was being made in talks aimed at finding a political solution to violence in the world's newest country.

The structure and functions of a transitional government of national unity have been "mostly agreed on," said the regional body known as IGAD, which is mediating ongoing talks in neighboring Ethiopia.

Mediators said, however, that although both sides agreed "in principle" to set up a federal system of government, they have not agreed on when to introduce that government in South Sudan. While representatives of the rebels want immediate implementation, the government favors a 30-month transitional period before the next administration can be formed.

South Sudan was plunged into violence last December after the government of President Salva Kiir accused the ousted vice president, Riek Machar, of launching a failed coup.

Thousands of people have since been killed in violence pitting government forces against renegade troops across the country.

More than 1.3 million people have been internally displaced by violence, most of them sheltering in remote areas that are not easily accessible to aid workers. More than half of the internally displaced people are children, according to the U.N.

The U.N. said in a statement Tuesday that - using a combination of airdrops and airlifts - its teams in South Sudan have been able to reach more than 500,000 people, including 100,000 children under the age of 5.

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