December 26, 2020 (JUBA) – In a joint Christmas letter, Church leaders called on South Sudanese officials to do more to restore peace and security.
Pope Francis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Church of Scotland moderator Martin Fair, reminded President Kiir and his First Vice President of their commitments made at the Vatican in April 2019 to implement the revitalized peace agreement and to work tother for peace in South Sudan.
Also, they reiterated their commitment to making a joint visit to South Sudan.
“We remain prayerfully mindful of the commitments made at the Vatican in April 2019 – yours to bring your country to a smooth implementation of the Peace Agreement, and ours to visit South Sudan in due course, as things return to normalcy,” reads the joint letter.
They pointed out that a “small progress” has been made, stressing that was not enough for the South Sudanese people who are eager for peace.
“When we visit, we long to bear witness to a changed nation, governed by leaders who, in the words of the Holy Father last year, ‘hold hands, united… as simple citizens’ to ‘become Fathers (and Mothers) of the Nation’.”
At the request of Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin Welby led a spiritual retreat for the South Sudanese political and church leaders at the Vatican in April 2019.
At the end of the retreat, Pope Francis in a symbolic move knelt before President Salva Kiir and the SPLM-IO leader Riek Machar, kissing their shoes and urging them to pursue peace.
“Remember that with war, all is lost,” the Pope said.
Since the Vatican religious community of Sant’Egidio has launched an initiative aiming to bring the holdout groups to join the peace pact of September 2018.
However, the groups that signed the peace agreement complain of the slow implementation of the peace deal and still continue to implement the most urging matters the security arrangement and to determine the state boundaries.