24 Feb 2018

 

Churches Leaders Calling On Warring Parties To Negotiate For Peace Not Positions

Religious leaders from South Sudan have called on the parties to the conflict currently negotiating in the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in the Ethiopian capital, Addis-Ababa to negotiate for peace rather than positions.

Churches Leaders Calling On Warring Parties To Negotiate For Peace Not Positions
Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro with retired Episcopal Bishop Enock Tombe(R) and Bishop Peter Pal (L) [Gurtong Photo|Ojwe Lumara]

By Ojwe Lumara

ADDIS ABABA, 07 February 2018 [Gurtong]-His Grace, Paulino Lukudu Loro, the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Juba who addressed the Forum told journalists outside the conference hall that the warring parties should talk towards peaceful resolution of the conflict in South Sudan.

“We have consistently stated that this is a senseless war which should and immediately stop.

There is no moral justification to continue the war and killings regardless of any legitimate political issues with the government or the opposition feel they may have,” the Archbishop said.

He said the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement that was signed in December last year must be implemented.

The agreement was violated shortly after signing on December 21st, 2017. The warring parties traded blames for violating the agreement.

“We therefore urge you all once again to prioritize peace and not war for the love of the suffering people in South Sudan. The God given gift of relative peace to the people of South Sudan when you signed the Cessation of Hostilities was accepted by all with jubilation and hope. Our people in the cities and towns, in the refugee camps, in protection of civilians’ sites and in the country sites and diaspora are desperate to feel and experience peace,” Lukudu emphasized.

He appealed to the parties to respect, honor and abide by the agreement they committed to.

“It is no longer acceptable to negotiate posts and positions in the middle of violence and killings. The needs of the people must be met, the voice of the voiceless cannot be ignored, let no pride, greed, and struggle for political power become greater than the need for reconciliation in South Sudan,” the Archbishop said.

He said regional and bilateral interests should not be served at the expense of the people of South Sudan.

He noted that based on historic experience, there is no quick and easy way of solving the situation, but the people of South Sudan deserve political compromise and peace.

“We call upon all to consider the sufferings and pains of the people of South Sudan. We call upon all the warring parties to exercise restraint, tolerance, forgiveness, love and reconciliation.

We want all hostilities to cease immediately and for honest and truthful negotiations to begin henceforth,” he appealed.

The church leaders also called on the IGAD, AU and the United Nations to ensure the reports of JMEC and recommendations are followed by actions that hold parties accountable.

“Blanket blame is not good enough. You need to name, shame and hold the violators accountable,” he said.

The church also asked the international community not to “squander this last chance for peace”, saying they are very hopeful that permanent peace can be realized in the country.


 

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