South Sudan, talks for national reconciliation at Sant'Egidio

July 26 2019 - ROME, ITALY

PeaceSouth Sudan

The commitment of all political forces to unity and to free child soldiers

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The reconciliation process is progressing in South Sudan, the youngest state in the world, knowing that peace and stability depend on the acceptance of political and religious pluralism. "We are grateful to the Community of Sant'Egidio for having hosted these days of reflection and dialogue on the future of our country, still marked by divisions and hostility: an important occasion that has allowed us to work together for peace, between different political forces , and makes the impossible possible, "said Gabriel Changson Chang, vice president of the National Pre-Transitional Committee, speaking at a press conference at Sant'Egidio.

Mauro Garofalo, head of the international relations of the Community, retraced the steps of a mediation work that aims to put an end to the bloody civil war that broke out in the aftermath of independence in 2011. After the signing of the peace agreement in Addis Ababa, in September 2018, the dialogue between the parties had a decisive moment in the spiritual retreat at Santa Marta wanted by Pope Francis last April. "We are working together despite the difficulties: this is an important point. Now the challenge is to include the movements and parties that have not signed the peace and support the National Pre-Transitional Committee with even greater conviction, until the expiry of its mandate, scheduled in three months", said Garofalo.

Changson expressed confidence in the truce and the return of the population to the villages, together with the commitment to preserve the spirit of unity and loyal collaboration between the parties, "the building blocks with which to build the country's future". The role of Christians, and in particular of the South Sudan Council of Churches, has proved to be essential in times of crisis - added Garofalo - as a sign of the "will to overcome divisions and work for the good of the population, exhausted by long years of war". Changson finally pointed out that among the tasks of the National Pre-Transitional Committee there is that of identifying and freeing child soldiers, used by different factions in war operations.