The apostolic nuncio to South Sudan has said civil society needs to be involved in future peace negotiations if a permanent solution is to be found for the fledgling state.
Archbishop Daniel Balvo said civil society needs to be involved not just in negotiations on the government level but “should be actively involved always.”
Speaking to CISA news agency Feb. 17, the Holy See diplomat said civil society and the Church have already asked the warring factions to lay down their arms and work out their differences, adding that in the end it is the people who are suffering.
“In a country that has a lot of resources, it will not be easy to develop them unless there is peace,” he said.
Archbishop Balvo, who also represents the Pope to Kenya and is based in Nairobi, took up his position as nuncio to South Sudan last December.
He said the Church was doing much to help people in new country through promotion of their welfare and would continue to ensure that peace prevails in the nation. “It is very hard to promote and create a society with generations of people that all they have known is violence,” he said.
In December, a political power struggle broke out between President Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar, as the president accused Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d’état. Thousands of South Sudanese were killed in the ensuing violence.
On Tuesday February 18, Reuters reported on a new outbreak of fighting in the provincial capital of the Upper Nile, the first such report since rebels and the government signed a ceasefire in January.
Both President Kiir’s government and rebels who support former vice president and rebel leader Machar have accused the other of violating the January 23 ceasefire deal brokered by neighboring East African states.
Archbishop Balvo also called on the Church in Kenya to work for national unity, especially on the coast where extremist attacks by Al Shabaab militants have been reported.
On the NET: CISA