South Sudan leaders reach cease-fire

WASHINGTON (AP) — African mediators say South Sudan's president has reached a cease-fire agreement with a rebel leader.

The mediators say the deal means "an immediate cessation of hostilities within 24 hours of the signing" and "unhindered humanitarian access" to all people affected by the months-long conflict.

Ethnically targeted violence in the world's youngest country broke out in December, killing thousands of people and forcing more than 1.3 million to flee their homes. The U.N. Security Council has expressed "horror" at recent killings of civilians.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice welcomed the peace agreement, saying it "holds the promise of bringing the crisis to an end." She's urging South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar to follow through on the new deal by "ending the violence and negotiating in good faith to reach a political agreement."

A January cease-fire fell apart within days.

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