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Pope hopes for S.Sudan peace as leaders end Vatican retreat

Pope hopes for S.Sudan peace as leaders end Vatican retreat”

Machar had fled to Democratic Republic of Congo before he went to South Africa and lastly returned to Sudan which played a great role in enhancing communication between the two leaders.

This event, was organized with the goal of offering "a propitious occasion for reflection and prayer, as well as an occasion for encounter and reconciliation, in a spirit of respect and trust, to those who in this moment have the mission and the responsibility to work for a future of peace and prosperity for the South Sudanese people", said the Vatican.

The pope said that he is praying for the leaders for South Sudan to become peacemakers, who "build peace through dialogue, negotiation and forgiveness".

Pope Francis knelt and kissed the feet of South Sudan's rival leaders on Thursday, in an act of humility to encourage them to strengthen the country's faltering peace process.

"We Christians believe and know that peace is possible, for Christ is risen".

But Kiir might still be willing to form a unity government with Machar if Kiir thought he could improve relations with foreign powers, consolidate his power and pick off the last remaining rebel group, led by former general Thomas Cirillo, said the International Crisis Group's Boswell.

Although few diplomats expected Kiir and Machar to meet the May 12 deadline set in last September's peace deal, the delay will cause further unease among the 12 million strong South Sudanese population.

People expect a lot more from the Popes; at times, some of them are unrealistic.

"In a real way, all of us can say that we were called to the life of faith and were chosen by God, but also by our people, to serve them faithfully".

CHURCH and political authorities in South Sudan gathered for a spiritual retreat in the Vatican this week organised and attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis.

Pope Francis told the gathering: "Peace was the very first word that the Lord spoke. We must deliver", Machar said.

"There will be fights among you, but let these be inside the office", Francis said, staring the leaders and other South Sudanese officials in the eye and urging them to respect their recent armistice and commit to forming a unity government next month.

The retreat is the brainchild of Justin Welby, head of the Anglican communion, the Vatican Secretariat of State Pietro Parolin, and Rev John Chalmers, former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, who were all present at the meeting.

A prior trip to the war torn country with Welby was cancelled in 2017 due to security concerns.



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