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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BBC NEWS | Africa | South Sudan authority takes shape

BBC NEWS | Africa | South Sudan authority takes shape South Sudan authority takes shape
The first members of a new government have been named in southern Sudan after a deal to end 21 years of war.

Former rebel leader John Garang has appointed a vice-president and named 10 caretaker governors.

Under the terms of the peace deal, the south has been granted a large degree of autonomy from central government.

Mr Garang recently took up his job as number two in Sudan's central government but he is also president of the south.

In his first decree as the south's official leader, he appointed former rebel commander Salva Kiir as vice-president of the new southern administration.

Caretaker governors have also been appointed to each of the south's 10 states.

Garrison town

As agreed in the peace deal signed in January, nine of the governors are ex-rebels and one, the leader of a formerly pro-government militia.

He is Clement Wani, who retains control of Juba, which was a government garrison town during the war.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher says the appointments will be finalised when the rest of the southern administration is announced.

In six years time, a referendum is due on whether to break away and form a new country.

Critics say the peace agreement between Mr Garang's Sudan People's Liberation Movement and the ruling National Congress Party is flawed because it is a bilateral deal.

Former prime minister and opposition leader Sadiq al-Mahdi says other groups are under-represented.

The new constitution came into effect earlier this month.

Under the peace deal, Sudan's new oil wealth will be shared between north and south, Islamic Sharia law will not be applied in the south and the south will hold a referendum on secession in six years' time.

The conflict between the predominantly Muslim north and Christian south, which lasted more than two decades, claimed 1.5m lives.

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