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South Sudan: Latansio (Council of Christian Churches), “the Pope would like to come with an ecumenical delegation. We are ready to welcome him”

“The Pope expressed the wish to come down to South Sudan to be close to the suffering people. We will be waiting to learn when he comes”: this was said today, in the HQ of Community of Sant’Egidio, in Rome, by reverend James Oyet Latansio, secretary of the South Sudan Council of Churches (Sscc), after having been given audience by Pope Francis. “Of course, we cannot have a 100% secure situation but, if the Pope decides to come as he did in the Central African Republic and Myanmar, we will be happy to welcome him”. Reverend Latansio mentioned “the Pope’s wish to come with the archbishop of Canterbury and with the leaders of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland: he wants it to be an ecumenical journey”. At the audience with the nine delegates of the Christian Churches – Catholic, Presbyterian of South Sudan, Pentecostal of Sudan, Episcopalians, Africa Inland Church – the Pope listened to the details of the situation of the country, where internecine wars have been going on since 2013, with 7 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aids and 2 million South Sudanese people fled to the neighbouring countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, D.R. of Congo). “We as Churches have joined forces for peace – reverend Latansio said –. We told the Pope what we are doing right there to bring people to unity and reconciliation. The Pope told us that he has the suffering South Sudan’s people at heart and that, as long as any part of the body of the Church is suffering, he won’t be at peace”. Over the last few years, Sscc has been promoting a peace-building initiative in support of the High Level Revitalisation Forum, the negotiation acknowledged by the regional organisation of the Horn of Africa. The Council made an appeal to the negotiating parties, asking the leaders of South Sudan to end the hostilities. Community of Sant’Egidio is supporting such process and is on the side of the Council of Churches.

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