© Fides

Archbishop of Khartoum Comments on Peace in South Sudan

‘The peace agreement is good, but all the armed groups must join it’

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«I do not know if we can call this agreement comprehensive because some other armed forces in Sudan are still out and I hear they haven’t accepted to sign. A peace agreement becomes comprehensive when all those who are armed join the agreement with no one left out», said His Exc. Mgr. Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria, Archbishop of Khartoum, commenting on the agreement reached on August 31 between the Sudanese government and a number of rebel groups. Fides News Agency reported on his remarks.

After months of negotiations, the agreement was signed in two phases during a ceremony in Juba, South Sudan: the first by the rebel movements in Darfur, where the war started in 2003, which caused at least 300,000 deaths and 2.5 million displaced. In a second phase by the rebel movement of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, where the war affected one million people.

The South Sudanese mediation team and representatives from Chad, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt attended the signing as observers.

As pointed out by Mgr. Didi, some armed formations did not adhere to the agreements: the SPLM-N Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction headed by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-N al-Hilu), together with the component of the SLM (Sudan Liberation Movement/Army) led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW).

«I do not know if this agreement will improve things without everyone being part of it», insists the Archbishop of Khartoum: » There is just a cessation of hostilities and ceasefire; to me, it is not the same as the peace agreement. When there is just cessation of hostilities, the situation shouldn’t be equated to peace».

Mgr. Didi hopes that «since the parties have in place cessation of hostilities, this is a good time that they can talk. The best conclusion of the cessation of hostilities is the peace agreement».

One should bear in mind that the peace agreement, in addition to giving ample autonomy to the governments of the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, provides for the establishment of a national commission for religious freedom which guarantees the protection of the rights of Christian communities in the south of the Country. It also predicts that 40% of the wealth produced in the two States will remain with them for a period of 10 years.

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