By Simon Deng
The visiting Secretary of State of the Vatican Cardinal Pietro Parolin has warned South Sudanese leaders of potential relapse into conflict if the peace agreement is not fully implemented.
“Peace and development the two are related because if there is no peace there is no possibility to develop the country, there is always possibility of new conflict and new violence. The next visit of the Pope will just consolidate the movement toward peace and development,” he said while meeting President Salva Kiir at State House in Juba on Tuesday.
Parolin arrived in the country on Tuesday with message from Pope Francis meant for the parties in the transitional unity government.
President Salva Kiir and his First Vice President Riek Machar in April 2019 visited the Vatican where Pope Francis urged them to implement the 2018 revitalized peace deal to transition the country toward peace after years of conflict.
“The Holy Father said there will be always difficulty but we have to go forward and solve them with good will just to achieve that unity, peace and reconciliation,” Parolin said.
Parolin is expected to also attend the South Sudan Bishops conference before visiting Unity State to pray with Christians and meet with Catholic religious leaders.
Barnaba Marial Benjamin, the Minister for Presidential Affairs, confirmed that Parolin delivered the message of peace and reconciliation to the President.
“His imminence, the Secretary of State was able to bring the message of his Holy Father the Pope to the President of the Republic and all the people of South Sudan which is unity, peace and reconciliation,” Benjamin said.