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Urging for Peace, Pope Francis Kisses Feet of South Sudan Leaders

Urging for Peace, Pope Francis Kisses Feet of South Sudan Leaders”

Pope Francis knelt and kissed the feet of South Sudan's rival leaders Thursday, in an unprecedented act of humbleness to encourage them to strengthen the African country's faltering peace process. "I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward", Francis said after performing the rare gesture.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 but had been gripped by a bloody civil war since 2013 until a peace deal was finally signed in September of a year ago. He has entrusted much to us, and for this reason will require from us much more! "There will be disagreements among you, but may they take place "in the office" while, in front of your people, you hold hands; in this way, you will be transformed from simple citizens to fathers of the nation".

The pope kissed Kiir and Machar's feet, as well as those of Kiir's three vice presidents. "However, there will be little expectation that it will yield any real progress absent external pressure or an unforeseen change", Klem Ryan, former coordinator of the U.N. Security Council Panel of Experts for South Sudan, told Reuters.

The South Sudanese politicians were staying at the Pope's Vatican residence for an unprecedented two-day spiritual retreat, the idea of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the head of the Anglican Church.

"I never can understand why someone will let another person WHO SHOULDN'T be seen bowing to them, do so and they don't make any attempt to stop them".

When South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan in 2011 after years of war, the people were filled with hope, the pope said.

In Sudan, Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced the end of Bashir's rule saying the country would enter a two-year period of military rule to be followed by presidential elections.

In a report by Reuters, it was gathered that the event played out Thursday, April 11, during the pope's short retreat at the Vatican.

"Peace is the first gift that the Lord brought us, and the first commitment that leaders of nations must pursue".



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