By Otto Abut.
Meeting with the President of the Republic of South Sudan and other political leaders was at the top of the Papal program after the conclusion of his apostolic journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Pope Francis landed in Kinshasa 31st January during the apostolic journey to the DRC. The pontiff paid a courtesy visit to the president of the Republic before his meeting with Authorities, Civil Societies and the Diplomatic Corps amongst many other meetings in the DR. He then destined for South Sudan on the 03rd February 2023
The Holy Father on arrival to the country’s capital Juba, met with H.E Salva Kiir, President of the Republic of South Sudan and his vices including other senior political leaders in the garden of the presidential palace in which he called on the leaders to refrain from bad politics that involves bloodshed, war, conflict and more forms of violence from the young nation South Sudan.
“No more bloodshed, no more conflicts, no more violence and mutual recriminations about who is responsible for it, no more leaving your people a thirst for peace. No more destruction: it is time to build! Leave the time of war behind and let a time of peace dawn!” says Pope
He pleaded with the leadership referring to the Rome incident in which he kissed the feet of President Kiir and His First Vice Riek Machar in a gesture of undying need for Peace.
“Dear President and Vice-Presidents, in the name of God, of the God to whom we prayed together in Rome, of the God who is gentle and humble in heart, the God in whom so many people of this beloved country believe, now is the time to say “No more of this”, without “ifs” or “buts”. Pope Francis added.
The pontiff described South Sudan as a great land of abundance, a young nation with an ancient history and abundant resources.
He calls on the leaders to renew the life of society as pure sources of prosperity and peace which is greatly needed for the sons and daughters of South Sudan.
“So it is not enough simply to be called a Republic; it is necessary to be one, starting with the primary goods. The abundant resources with which God has blessed this land should not be restricted to a few, but recognized as the legacy of all, and plans for economic recovery should coincide with proposals for an equitable distribution of wealth.”
For his part, President Kiir in his welcoming remark promised a positive impact of a lasting peace to the Holy Father’s ecumenical visit and pilgrimage of peace to South Sudan.
“Your visit will leave a positive impact on our national consciousness and peace in our country, your presence amidst us today is a historic milestone.” Kiir lauded.
The Head of state expressed the government’s commitment towards peace implementation with the peace parties.
“We as the parties to the agreement are working together in the spirit of dialogue to overcome challenges before us and we will remain committed until peace is firmly consolidated in South Sudan” President Kiir Adds.
Pope Francis arrived from DR Congo after a 3-day pastoral visit together with the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland Right .Reverend Dr. Iain Greenshields.
By Otto Abut.