South Sudan Marks 1st Birthday; Bishops Reject War

Christian Leaders Say Relationship Between Sudans at ‘Unacceptable Level’

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ROME, JULY 9, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Catholic and Episcopal leaders of South Sudan — which became the world’s newest nation a year ago today — say the relationship of the government with its northern neighbor has “deteriorated to an unacceptable level.”

“The relations between the governments of Sudan and Southern Sudan have deteriorated to an unacceptable level. We reject war as an option to resolve disputes, and we call on all parties to respect the cease-fire and to withdraw their forces from the border region,” stated an appeal from Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba, and Monsignor Daniel Deng Bul, Episcopal Archbishop of Juba and Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, as reported by the Fides agency.

The ecumenical message praises the developments of the last year, but note worry about the ongoing problems, including the conflict between the two governments, particularly over the oil-rich region of Abyei, interethnic tensions, and the three civil wars ongoing in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

“Oil is a God-given resource that the two countries should benefit from,” remind the two church leaders. “We call for a settlement based on international standards for the transportation of crude oil and to recognize the damage caused by the current impasse to the populations of both States. Prices are rising and there are shortages of essential goods, including fuel, which make life difficult for ordinary citizens.”

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