Church leaders call for ceasefire in South Sudan
South Sudan Council Churches (SSCC) called on the warring parties to observe a permanent ceasefire in the ravaged country pointing that peace requires dialogue, healing and trust building amongst the Parties.
The Heads of Churches of the South Sudan Council Churches (SSCC), has expressedits concerns over the recent peace agreement signed by President Kiir and his rival and former Vice President Machar, the Khartoum Declaration saying an untimely emphasis on the technicalities of the agreement rather than focus on developing genuine trust between the warring parties.
The Church leaders, in a meeting which held in Nairobi, Kenya from 17 to 19 July, emphasised that “Without genuine dialogue, healing and substantial trust building amongst the Parties, the political will needed for the successful implementation of a peace agreement will be lacking, and will void all efforts;” the statement said.
“The Church reiterates to all stakeholders that peace is not an event, nor a document, but a process requiring commitment and sacrifice.”
This skepticism has also been voiced out by the United States government which expressed its concern that both President Salva Kiir and his opponent, Riek Machar “have not demonstrated the leadership required to bring genuine peace and accountable governance” to the nation.
Sarah Sanders, White House Press Secretary, said in a statement, “we remain skeptical that they can oversee a peaceful and timely transition to democracy and good governance.”
These concerns are raised because a power sharing deal has still not been reached since the Khartoum agreement.
“The South Sudanese people deserve an end to the violence and a future marked by prosperity and freedom from fear. We remain committed to supporting the South Sudanese people and to saving lives, and we continue to share their aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous tomorrow,” Sanders said.
The Bishops also noted that different agreement signed since December 2013 but none has been implemented to stop the killings and sufferings in the country.
The churches are pleased that the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has agreed to let the Church facilitate a healing and reconciliation dialogue between the opposition leaders so as facilitate and encourage honest and open deliberations during the revitalisation forum in Addis Ababa.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos