Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby meet at the Vatican, on Wednesday
The (Anglican) Bishop of Wau, the Rt Revd Moses Deng Bol, said on Thursday: “The leaders seem not to care for the welfare of the people, but for their own political and economic interests.”
The pastoral visit, which could take place early next year, was announced by the Vatican and Lambeth Palace on Wednesday evening, after a private audience between Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby in the Vatican.
A statement from the Vatican Press Office said that their discussions had addressed “the painful reality facing South Sudan”. They had agreed to a joint visit “if the political situation in the country should allow the establishment of a transitional government of national unity in the next 100 days, at the expiry of the agreement signed in recent days in Entebbe, in Uganda”.
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and the opposition leader Riek Machar were expected to form a unified transitional government by 12 November, in line with a September 2018 peace deal aimed at ending the six-year conflict.
After last week’s meeting in Entebbe, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an African bloc, the leaders agreed to extend the deadline by 100 days, “to allow critical tasks to be completed”, a United Nations press release said.
The UN Secretary General’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said that these tasks included security arrangements and agreement on the number and boundaries of states.
The bloody conflict has given rise to mass displacement, food shortages, and disease, and human-rights violations on both sides (News, 2 March 2018). It is estimated that almost 200,000 people have been killed, and the UN has described rape as “endemic” (News, 22 February).
The country’s Churches have contributed to national and local peace and reconciliation efforts, and bishops have spoken out against the failure of political leaders to put the people first (News, 22 December 2017).
On Thursday, Bishop Deng Bol said: “I can describe the situation in South Sudan as desperate. People are desperately yearning for peace, but the leaders seem not to care for the welfare of the people, but for their own political and economic interests.
“There is no clear exit strategy from conflict to peace from our political leaders at the moment. So the only hope the people of South Sudan have now is in God, but not in political settlement.”
The peace agreement was a “great opportunity for the leaders to usher the country out of conflict to the path of peace and development”, he said. “But there is currently no political will to do so. The hope is that the visit of the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury may resuscitate or promote political will from our political leaders to implement the agreement in letter and spirit.”
Churches were working in multiple fields, he said, including humanitarian relief through Churches’ relief and development wings, trauma counselling, and “engaging with political leadership to encourage a dialogue aimed at building trust and confidence among them”.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Archbishop Welby wrote: “Our commitment to the teaching of Jesus means we long to see a lasting solution to the conflict in South Sudan. We renew our call for spiritual and political leaders there to strive for peace.”
- ^ South Sudan (www.bing.com)
- ^ the (www.bing.com)
- ^ Pope (www.bing.com)
- ^ Archbishop of Canterbury (www.bing.com)
- ^ Vatican (www.bing.com)
- ^ Lambeth Palace (www.bing.com)
- ^ United Nations (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 20 December 2013 (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 2 March 2018 (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 22 February (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 21 June (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 14 September 2018 (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 22 December 2017 (www.bing.com)
- ^ News, 12 April (www.bing.com)
Newer news items:
- Fear grips South Sudan after church attack - 16/11/2019
- African Union says South Sudan leaders have 'last chance' - 15/11/2019
- South Sudan, Rwanda skip inter-parliamentary games planning meetings - 15/11/2019
- South Sudan: More Than 200,000 Children Forced to Flee Their Homes Following Flooding - 15/11/2019
- Can Sudan and South Sudan find friendship? - 15/11/2019
Older news items:
- South Sudan violence 'political, not ethnic', says Archbishop - 15/11/2019
- Catholic bishops see change in Sudan and South Sudan - 14/11/2019
- Political unrest: Nigerian government donates $300,000 to South Sudan - 14/11/2019
- South Sudan fails to set up a transitional unity government. What this could mean for the 8-year-old country. - 14/11/2019
- Will South Sudan finally be able to clinch lasting peace in 100 days? - 14/11/2019
Popular news items:
- No oil in troubled waters - 25/03/2014 - Read 19725 times
- School exam results in South Sudan show decline - Bikya Masr - 01/04/2012 - Read 16878 times
- Former Lost Boy Gives Back to South Sudan - Care2.com (blog) - 31/05/2012 - Read 15316 times
- NDSU student from South Sudan receives scholarship - In-Forum - 29/09/2012 - Read 14649 times
- With prisons full, South Sudan to introduce mobile courts to clear backlog of ... - Washington Post - 11/10/2012 - Read 12180 times