Vatican City (EFE).- Pope Francis arrived this Friday in South Sudan, the youngest country in the world, born in 2011 after its independence from Sudan and which is trying to implement a peace agreement after years of war that have led this nation to be one of the poorest countries in the world.
The 40th international trip of Francis, 86, began this Tuesday in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and today he moved to South Sudan, where he will be accompanied by the leader of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, since the country has a significant presence of these Christian denominations.
Upon arrival in Juba, Welby and Greenshields went up to greet the pope on the plane, while South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit greeted him at the foot of the stairs.
On the way to the presidential palace, where the pope will meet the president and vice presidents, thousands of people crowded to see him as they called for peace for the country.
In April 2019, a spiritual retreat was called in the Vatican to help the peace process in South Sudan and during that initiative, in a gesture of humility that moved the world, Francis knelt down and kissed the feet of South Sudanese President Kiir. Mayardit, and the opposition Riek Machar and the rest of the leaders and urged them to proceed with the peace agreement signed the previous year.
Pope’s commitment to a peace process in South Sudan
The Pope will now go to the presidential palace where he will meet both President Mayardit and the opposition leader and vice president of the South Sudanese national unity government, Machar and the other vice presidents.
The call to maintain this peace agreement, which is advancing slowly – recently there have been some outbreaks of violence – will center its speech to the authorities in the presidential palace in Juba.
Tomorrow the meeting with the religious will take place in the Cathedral of Santa Teresa, while in the afternoon he will meet with the internally displaced, who are close to two million, and will listen to their stories.
He will also hold a mass at the John Karang mausoleum and an ecumenical celebration with the participation of the three religious leaders.