AFRICA/SOUTH SUDAN - Cardinal Czerny: "We are close to the people of South Sudan"

Tuesday, 6 February 2024 pope francis   elections   peace  

Radio Tamazuj

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Free and credible elections were promised by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Pope's visit to South Sudan (see Fides, 27/1/ 2023).
The Cardinal reaffirmed the Pope's and the Holy See's commitment to the people of South Sudan and renewed his call on the South Sudanese leadership to "commit to peace and stability as your country moves toward a democratic transition". "Pope Francis," he added, "looks forward to observing credible, free and fair elections in South Sudan."
President Kiir then welcomed the Holy See's willingness to support the elections scheduled for December this year.
The vote is part of the 2018 peace accords that ended a-five year civil war in which hundreds of thousands of people died. However, the agreement's provisions, including the formation of a unified national army, remain poorly implemented. In August 2022, South Sudan's Transitional Unity Government extended its mandate by two years until February 2025, with elections scheduled for December 2024. This should enable stakeholders to address the challenges in implementing the outstanding provisions of the 2018 Revitalized Conflict Resolution Agreement in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The agreement aimed to end the interim government with elections originally scheduled for December 2022. However, due to delays in implementation, the elections were postponed first to 2023 and then to 2024. During his visit from February 2 to 9, Cardinal Czerny will visit Renk on February 8, where he will bless the boat with which the local Caritas (see Fides, 6/12/2022) transports refugees on the Nile to Malakal. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 6/2/2024)