Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, speaks to the media, a key army commander in control of Unity state -- one of the most important petroleum regions -- defected to join the rebel force.
JUBA - South Sudan&39;s former vice president Riek Machar will be reinstated in his position as part of a peace deal to end a near five-year-old war that has devastated Africa&39;s youngest nation, the presidency said on Sunday.
According to a statement, the agreement was reached in talks held in Entebbe in Uganda, mediated by President Yoweri Miseveni and attended by South Sudan President Salva Kiir, Sudan&39;s Omar al-Bashir and Machar.
"After a 10-hour-long meeting, the parties agreed ... there will be four vice presidents and Dr Riek Machar will be reinstated as first vice president," the statement said.
It added that although the government and the opposition had agreed to the proposal, "there will be more consultation to come up with the final decision".
South Sudan has been gripped by civil war since 2013 when a political disagreement between Kiir and Machar exploded into a military confrontation.
The war has killed tens of thousands, uprooted about a quarter of the country&39;s population of 12 million and slashed oil production, on which its economy nearly wholly depends.
The agreement on Machar&39;s position is part of new efforts mediated by regional leaders to find a peace agreement and end the war. A similar deal in 2015 failed and conflict resumed.