Vatican City, Jan 14, 2020 / 13:30 pm
The Republic of South Sudan and the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA) have signed a peace declaration in Rome Sunday that will go into effect Jan. 15.
“I think this process will help the country to change to bring peace for the people,” Paolo Impagliazzo, Secretary General of the Community of Sant’Egidio, told CNA Jan. 13.
In peace talks in Rome facilitated by the Catholic community of Sant’Egidio, opposition groups and the South Sudanese government recommitted to cease hostilities, pursue political dialogue, and allow humanitarian aid for the people of South Sudan.
Signers of the “Rome Declaration on the Peace Process in South Sudan” notably included representatives of the opposition groups in SSOMA, who refused to sign an earlier peace agreement in Sept. 12, 2018 in Khartoum, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and National Democratic Movement (NDM) as witnesses.
Dr. Sunday De John, communications director for the opposition alliance, told CNA that he hopes this will pave the way for a long-awaited visit by Pope Francis to South Sudan.
“We have accepted the cessation of hostilities, and therefore there will be no confrontation between the forces of the opposition and that of the government. It means there will be relative security, and would allow the mobility of South Sudanese locally and international visitors, like His Holiness the pope as early as February,” De John said Jan. 13.
“South Sudan is a country that is made up of Christians, notably of the Catholic faith. We believe in His Holiness the pope, and should he come to South Sudan -- even if the opposition is unable to be there for security reasons -- we will be happy because our country is our symbol,” he said.
Paolo Impagliazzo, Secretary General of the Community of Sant’Egidio, facilitated the peace declaration. He said that faith played an important role in the South Sudan peace talks hosted in Rome Jan. 11-12.