Stop human suffering, bishop tells Kiir and Machar

South Sudan Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Juba Santo Laku Pio. He has asked the country's top political leaders to stop the suffering of the people.
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South Sudan Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Santo Laku Pio has sent a strong message to South Sudanese rival leaders President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar to put an end to human suffering in the country.

South Sudan Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Santo Laku Pio has sent a strong message to South Sudanese rival leaders President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar to put an end to human suffering in the country.

 

Speaking to believers at St. Theresa Cathedral in Juba on Sunday, Laku warned the regional bloc of IGAD and South Sudanese politicians to change the focus of peace talks in Addis Ababa from power and positions and to center the talks on human suffering.

He said the nation was marked by the continuation of violent conflicts and threats of war which he said demands a new, shared commitment in pursuit of the common good and the development of all men, and of the whole man.

Bishop Laku is the second high-ranking Catholic priest who has openly criticized the IGAD-mediated Addis Ababa peace talk, which he said has only focused on positions instead of suffering of people of South Sudan.

“The peace talks in Addis Ababa are a cosmetic peace process,” the priest said.

Recently, Malakal Catholic Apostolic administrator Misnyor Roko described the Addis peace talk as “complete political madness” because of the same reason of focusing on power portfolios than the people of the nation as a whole.

“Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of killing, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace,” Laku said..

He said nothing was more precious than peace, adding that peace was the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.

Although in many quarters it is recognized that a new model of development is needed, as well as a new approach to the economy, but the current war in the country has halted these new approaches, he said.

He urged the peace mediators to cultivate a passion for the common good of the family and for social justice, and a commitment to effective social education.

The priest was speaking in the wake of reports of renewed fighting between government forces and rebels. The regional mediators allowed the two sides to make consultations with their respective constituencies and then resume negotiations on leadership structure and power-sharing on 20th February.

The parties have a 5th March dateline to sign a final peace agreement, begin a three-month pre-transitional period and form a government of national unity by 9th July.

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