South Sudan\u2019s President Salva Kiir said on Saturday he was cutting the number of states from 32 to 10, unlocking a stalled peace deal and paving the way for the formation of a long- awaited unity government.\r\n\u201cThe compromise we have made today is a painful decision but a necessary one if that is what brings peace,\u201d Kiir said in a statement. \u201cI expect the opposition to be prepared to do the same.\u201d\r\nThe regional group IGAD had given the government until Saturday to find a solution over the number of states the country should have.\r\nDisagreement between Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar over the number of states as well as a failure to integrate different fighting forces have been major obstacles to completing the peace process.\r\nRiek Machar could not be reached for comment.\r\n\u201cThis paves a path forward. The peace deal was stuck. Now the parties will need to complete the negotiations to form the long-awaited unity government,\u201d said Alan Boswell, a senior analyst with the Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group.\r\nSouth Sudan\u2019s five-year civil war erupted soon after the country\u2019s formation in 2011 and created the worst refugee crisis in Africa since the Rwandan genocide.\r\nKiir and Riek Machar agreed a peace deal in 2018, pressured by the United Nations, the United States and countries in the region.\r\nUnder the deal, the two agreed to form a unity government by November 2019. They then pushed then the deadline back by 100 days, prompting Washington to recall its ambassador and impose sanctions on senior officials for their role in perpetuating the conflict.