South Sudanese leaders will meet Pope Francis and other spiritual leaders in Vatican, ahead of the start of the implementation of the peace deal to end a brutal civil war which erupted in December 2013.
According to the Vatican press services, Sudanese President Salva Kiir, rebel leader Riek Machar, and religious leaders in South Sudan will participate in a “spiritual retreat” for peace in the country billed for April 10 t and 11.
The meeting with South Sudan’s warring sides will take place at Vatican’s Sainte-Marthe residence.
President Salva Kiir is scheduled to be accompanied by four of the five designated vice-presidents: rebel leader Riek Machar, James Wani Igga, Taban Deng Gai and Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior.
Eight members of the South Sudan Council of Churches will also be present.
It should be noted that the new peace agreement concluded on 12 September 2018 in Addis Ababa enters into force as of 12 May 2020.
It provides for power sharing and the creation of a unified national army after a period of eight months.
According to the United Nations, the war in South Sudan has so far killed 380,000 people and displaced more than four million.