President Salva Kiir says he will form a unity government without opposition leader Riek Machar if Machar does not return to the country soon.

“I want to promise you that in November the national unity government must be formed. If the armed opposition does not want to form a government, we will go ahead with the other signatory parties to form the government on time,” Mr. Kiir said.

In mid-September, Kiir and Machar held talks on unity government plans and said progress was being made although some issues still needed to be sorted such as security arrangements.

But on Thursday Kiir urged his rival to return “well in advance” of November for the negotiations to continue.

It has been a little over a year since Kiir and Machar signed a peace deal which ended a deadly and financially devastating five-year civil war.  The deal set a November 2019 deadline to form a joint government.