Pope reproaches South Sudanese leaders that «promises of peace remain unfulfilled».

The Pope during his visit to Congo – Vatican Media / Zuma Press / ContactoPhoto

The Pope has asked the political leaders of South Sudan not to break their promises of reconciliation. «These are years of wars and conflicts that seem to have no end, even recently there have been violent clashes, while reconciliation processes and promises of peace remain unfulfilled,» the pontiff said in his first speech in the country.

Francis arrived Friday in the world’s youngest country, born in 2011 after its independence from Sudan and in which it is trying to implement a peace agreement after years of wars that have led this nation to be one of the poorest countries in the world. Earlier, the Pontiff visited the Democratic Republic of Congo for four days, where he denounced the filth of corruption and made appeals for peace.

From Juba, the Pope asked that «this exhausting suffering not be in vain» and «that the patience and sacrifices of the South Sudanese people, of these young, humble and courageous people, may challenge everyone and, like seeds that give life to the plant in the earth, see the sprouts of peace sprout and bear fruit». The 86 year-old Pope, who moves around in a wheelchair due to the continuous pains in his right knee, also asked that women be included in political spaces and in «decision making».

The Pontiff thus urged the country’s political leaders to stop accusing each other and to fulfill the promises made in the peace agreement, in a country «that cries because of the violence, poverty and natural disasters that torment it». «Enough of spilled blood, enough of conflicts, enough of aggressions and reciprocal accusations about who has been guilty, enough of leaving the people thirsty for peace. Enough of destruction, it is time for construction. We must leave behind the time of war and bring about a time of peace», he concluded.