Pope Francis urges South Sudan political leaders to end bloodshed
Pope Francis has called on South Sudanese political leaders to end the bloodshed in the country and embrace peace.
The 86-year-old pontiff made the call after a closed-door meeting with President Salva Kiir at the Presidential Palace after arriving in Juba on Friday afternoon.
“No more bloodshed, no more conflict, no more violence and mutual recriminations about who is responsible for it, no more leaving your people athirst for peace,” the Holy Father counseled. “Dear president and vice president, in name of God, of the God to whom we prayed together in Rome, of God who is gentle and humble in heart, the God in whom so many people of this beloved country believe.”
The pope said it is the time to say “No more of this” without “ifs” or “buts”.
He urged South Sudanese leaders to stop destruction and rebuild their country.
“No more destruction, it is time to build! Leave the time of war behind and let the time of peace draw,” he said.
According to the pontiff, future generations will either venerate the names of political leaders or cancel their memory based on what they do for the country.
“Dear authorities, those sons and daughters and history itself will remember you if you work for benefit of this person that you have been called to serve,” The Vicar of Christ said.
Meanwhile, Rev. Dr. Iain Greenshilds, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said they have come to listen to the voices of young people on how to bring lasting peace to the country.
“We come to listen to young people, 70 percent of South Sudan, and without listening to their voices there will be no peace and reconciliation,” he said.
Greenshilds urged the parties to the 2018 peace deal to commit to its full implementation.
“We cannot pick and choose the part of the peace agreement, every part must be done by every person and that costs much,” he said.
On his part, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, called on both political and church leaders to be generous and propagate God’s grace in the people they lead.
“Today we need that peace, we need churches and leaders who are generous of heart, liberal in love, and propagate with God’s grace,” Welby said. “We need leaders who care about the values by which our country lives and who care about the conditions in which people live and to act unto their faith in work among the most vulnerable and marginalized.”