Addis Ababa (AFP) - South Sudan's warring rivals will bring "disaster" on themselves and the region if no peace deal is signed, the African Union warned on Wednesday.
The government of the world's youngest nation has refused to ink the power-sharing deal, despite the threat of sanctions and mounting international frustration at the failure to seal a peace accord.
"Deadlock in the peace process can only spell further disaster for South Sudan and its people, with far reaching implications for regional security and stability," AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement.
Rebel chief Riek Machar met a Monday deadline to sign the power-sharing agreement, but President Salva Kiir only initialled part of it and said he would return to the table in early September to finalise the accord.
Dlamini-Zuma said the deal on the table was "a balanced document whose faithful and effective implementation by all the parties would enable them to find a lasting solution to the current conflict."
But government officials denounced the deal to end 20-months of war as a "sellout", saying it was not possible to sign a credible agreement because the rebel forces have split.
But Dlamini-Zuma warned the leaders that their "primary responsibility" was "bringing about the peace and security that their people are so desperately yearning for."
Both the army and rebels traded blame Wednesday accusing the other of attacks.