South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and rebel leader, Riek Machar, signed a peace agreement on Wednesday in the margins of a regional summit in Ethiopia.
South Sudan plunged into warfare two years after gaining independence from Sudan in 2011 when a political dispute between Messrs Kiir and Machar exploded into military confrontation.
A previous peace deal signed in 2015 fell apart a year later after clashes broke out between government forces and rebels, forcing Mr Machar to leave Juba.
The new agreement, mediated by Sudan, reinstates Mr Machar, a former vice-president, to his former role.
The U.S., Britain and Norway, known as the Troika which oversees peace efforts, welcomed the signature of the deal by Messrs Kiir, Machar and other groups.
“We hope discussions will remain open to those, who are not yet convinced of the sustainability of this agreement,” they said in a statement.
“We must seize this broader regional momentum to secure peace for the people of South Sudan.”
South Sudan’s civil war erupted in 2013, less than two years after it had gained independence from Sudan.
The war has uprooted a quarter of South Sudan’s 12 million population, ruined the country’s agriculture and battered its economy.