Juba (Agenzia Fides) - "I am happy to hear about this declaration. It is only my hope and prayer that the two parties – the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and the Opposition – will keep it. You know that the Holy Father is very much involved in it; we too are involved in it. But that is my prayer and hope", said His Exc. Mgr. John Baptist Odama, Archbishop of Gulu in Uganda, commenting on the Declaration signed in Rome on January 13, to end the war in South Sudan. Archbishop Odama, whose archdiocese hosts many refugees from South Sudan and is also heavily involved in interreligious peace initiatives in South Sudan.
The Declaration was signed thanks to the efforts of the Community of Sant'Egidio, which acted as a facilitator, by South Sudan government representatives and the country’s Opposition Movements (SSOMA).
The agreement provides for: the "solemn" commitment to the cessation of hostilities starting from midnight on January 15th; the commitment to discuss and evaluate together, in Sant'Egidio, the mechanisms to resolve differences; the guarantee for humanitarian organizations to be able to operate in the Country in support of the civilian population.
The agreement was greeted by the Bishops of neighboring Countries that adhere to AMECEA (Association of members of the Episcopal conferences of East Africa). The AMECEA Secretary General Fr Anthony Makunde has also commended the initiatives taken by Sant’Egidio and all the regional and international partners to bring lasting peace to South Sudan. "As Saint Paul said, when one organ is sick the whole body feels sick. Therefore, any efforts towards bringing lasting peace to South Sudan are for the good of the entire AMECEA family. Our appeal is to our brothers and sisters in South Sudan to reciprocate to these efforts so that we may put our efforts together towards this common course. We assure them of our prayers and support, asking our Lord the Prince of Peace to intervene", concludes Fr. Makunde.
The Episcopal Conferences of Ethiopia and Eritrea are part of AMECEA; Kenya; Malawi; Sudan and South Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda and Zambia. Somalia and Djibouti have observer status. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/1/2020)