South Sudan president's meeting with pope a hopeful sign

YAMBIO, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudanese people are hoping President Salva Kiir's meeting with Pope Francis will bring greater stability to their country amid rising concerns that its fragile peace deal could collapse.

Kiir met the pope at the Vatican Saturday.

South Sudan is emerging from five years of civil war, which killed almost 400,000 people and displaced millions. A peace deal signed in September has stalled and international observers warn the agreement could break down "over any number of outstanding disputes," according to the International Crisis Group.

With less than two months left in the pre-transitional period of the agreement, key issues have yet to be resolved. Those include shared security control of the capital, Juba, and the return of opposition leader Riek Machar to resume his role as First Vice President.