Kiir meets Pope, Machar sends team to Juba



Pope Francis held a private meeting with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir on Friday, a spokesman of the Catholic Church, told Reuters.

The Vatican’s chief spokesman Father Federico said Kiir and the Pope held a 15-minute conversation which he said was private and refused to divulge details.

Radio Tamazuj describes Kiir as an occasional churchgoer at the Kator Cathedral in Juba.

The radio however says Kiir last year skipped Mass after shutting down the country’s most popular Catholic radio station.

South Sudanese bishops last year declared the civil war ‘evil’ and ‘immoral’ and the bishop of Juba has repeatedly slammed politicians for “continuous preaching to violence and war.”

Some churchgoers held peace marches in Juba before the signing of a peace agreement in August, according to Tamazuj.

Kiir, nonetheless, accepted an invitation from Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to attend the papal mass at Namugongo catholic martyrs shrine.

Kiir earlier met the Pope privately at State House Entebbe.

“The reason for this meeting, the intention of the pope, was obviously in service of the peace and reconciliation in the land,” Federico told Reuters.

Machar team ready for reconciliation

The idea of reconciliation also comes at a time when the South Sudan opposition has resolved to send a team to the capital Juba amid the implementation of the peace agreement.

Nyarji Roman, the Deputy spokesman Office of the chairman, confirmed this in a release titled: “Resolution of the National Liberation Council on September 27.”

Roman said the Board of the National Liberation People’s Movement on 27 of October 2015 passed by majority a resolution to send a delegation of 550 member from the top leaders of the movement lead by Cde Taban Deng Gai to Juba on Wednesday of this week in regardless of starting the implementation of the agreement signed between the two parties three months from now after the war lasted for two years between the movement led by Dr. Riek Machar and the Government of the South.


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