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South Sudan Church leaders say peace requires trust building first

July 21, 2018 (JUBA) - 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.

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President Salva Kiir Mayardit (R) joins the congregation during Christmas prayers at Kator church in Juba, South Sudan. Dec 25, 2010 (Photo: Larco Lomoyat)

The Heads of Churches of the South Sudan Council Churches (SSCC), met in Nairobi, Kenya on July 17-19, 2018 to discuss the recent development in the country after being involved by the IGAD in the peace revitalization forum.

In a statement released after the meeting, the churches leaders welcomed the recent initiatives by South Sudan’s neighbours, the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, security arrangement agreement and Entebbe proposal.

However, they pointed to the ongoing discussions between the negotiating parties over power-sharing and expressed concerns "over untimely emphasis" on the technical aspects of the agreement before trust has even been built between the parties.

"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;" stressed the statement.

"The CHURCH reiterates to all stakeholders that peace is not an event, nor a document, but a process requiring commitment and sacrifice," further added the churches leaders referring to the different agreement signed by the parties since December 2013 but remained without implementation.

The churches thanked the IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan Ismail Wais for heeding the call of the South Sudanese parties to invite the Church to facilitate them in closed-door healing and dialogue meetings to encourage genuine deliberations during the revitalization forum in Addis Ababa.

(ST)