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Vatican set to open an embassy in South Sudan

June 7, 2018 (JUBA) – The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis appears set to order the opening of the Vatican’s first permanent embassy in South Sudan to solidarity with the East African country.

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A pilgrim waves a flag of South Sudan as he attends a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on a vast dusty esplanade outside Madrid during the World Youth Day (WYD) festivities on August 21, 2011. (Getty)

The bishops’ conference for Sudan and South Sudan announced the move in a 6 June release, saying it had received word from the Vatican’s Secretariat of State that Kenyan Msgr. Mark Kadima would shortly be named as South Sudan’s first resident apostolic nuncio.

"I express to His Holiness heartfelt gratitude," Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala, president of the conference was quoted saying Thursday.

"This step of our Holy Father truly cools the hearts of downtrodden war victims in these nations and ... symbolizes the honest friendly ties between South Sudan and the Holy See", he added.

The Pope had earlier declared 23 February, 2018 as the day for fasting and prayers for South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, two of Africa’s war-hit nations.

In his message, he appealed to all the faithful to seek spiritual intervention by fasting and praying for peace, while also inviting the non-Catholic faithful to play a part in the search for peace in the two nations and around the world.

The conflict in South Sudan has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than two million into neighbouring nations, while in that in Congo involves President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to leave power, despite calls from opposition and human rights groups.

(ST)