“People were looking to see a document signed and peace reached, but this is not going to happen today,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Mawien Makol Arik told reporters on Monday in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir initialed the peace agreement but said he needed 15 days to consult allies in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, before he would formally sign it, according to Hailemichael Gebreselasie, a spokesman for the regional team heading negotiations.
“There are a lot of hard-liners around Juba. The president wanted to go and talk to these guys and convince them,” Hailemichael said.
Western powers including the U.S. and the U.K. had threatened to impose additional targeted sanctions if the two parties fail to sign by the Aug. 17 deadline.
South Sudan’s government said last week a breakthrough by the deadline was unlikely because the two sides couldn’t agree on a range of issues, including the division of positions in a power-sharing arrangement.
South Sudan descended into violence 20 months ago when fighting broke out in the capital city and Mr. Kiir claimed that his security forces had foiled a coup.
More than 10,000 people have been killed since then and more than 2 million have fled their homes. Nearly 200,000 people are sheltered in U.N. camps inside the country because of the fighting, the world body said Monday.