Pope Francis to host South Sudan’s rival leaders next week

President Kiir (right), SPLM-IO leader Dr. Machar (left). Photo: EPA

April 5, 2019 (SSNA) — South Sudanese main rival leaders President Salva Kiir and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-In Opposition (SPLM-IO) leader Dr. Riek Machar will be hosted by his Holiness Pope Francis next Wednesday, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said in a statement.

In the text, Parolin confirmed that Kiir and Machar will meet with the Pope on April 10 and that the meeting will be “spiritual.”

“It will be a spiritual moment and above all an invitation to realize the responsibility that political leaders and authorities have,” Parolin said.

The announcement comes as new questions are being raised about the viability of the September 2018 peace agreement and its implementation.

The SPLM-IO and the National Salvation Front (NS) have recently accused the government of using tactics to further delay the execution of the deal.

President Kiir has in the past met with Pope Francis at a private event on March 16 and the two men discussed peace implement process and ways to return refugees to their homes.

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