Pope’s visit offers ample time to reconcile, says peace monitor
The Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) said the expected visit of Pope Francis to South Sudan should inspire leaders to reconcile.
It also urged the parties to the peace agreement to renew their confidence in the peace process and work for lasting peace in the country.
Addressing a board meeting on Thursday in Juba, the Interim Chairperson of the RJMEC, Maj. Gen (rtd), Charles Tai Gituai, said the papal visit should provide inspiration and a spirit of forgiveness among the parties.
“The imminent Ecumenical Peace Pilgrimage to Juba of the three religious leaders, led by His Holiness, Pope Francis, is an indicator of the world’s desire for lasting peace in South Sudan,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan, Nicholas Haysom, also welcomed the imminent visit of Pope Francis to South Sudan.
“I welcome the imminent visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, which is as meaningful a sign as any of the will and intent of the international community to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of South Sudan,” Haysom said.
He added, “I extend that welcome to the other religious leaders who are participating in the visit.”
Haysom had told the journalists early this month during a press conference that the Pope’s visit was an opportunity to focus on South Sudan, particularly at a time when the country is getting less attention due to the crises in the region and across the world.
“It’s important for the Pope to focus attention on the needs of South Sudan, which are considerable and require both international and national effort.”
Pope Francis is expected to arrive in South Sudan on February 3, after having previously been forced to postpone his visit in July 2022 due to health issues.
He will spend two days in the country before returning to the Vatican.