Pope Francis to visit South Sudan this year

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Pope Francis' visit also comes two years after the Vatican postponed an anticipated trip to Juba over what the National Catholic Reporters described as due to security concerns. PHOTO | AFP

Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby are set to visit South Sudan this year, according to the Global Anglican Communion.

The delayed anticipated visit is to encourage peace for a country that has suffered civil wars, which left over 400,000 people killed and with the entire nation in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations.

“God willing, sometime in the next few months, perhaps a year, we will go and see them in Juba, not in Rome, and see what progress can be made,” said the head of the global Anglican Communion.

In March 2019, President Salva Kiir and his team met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome – an official visit that came as a result of an invitation from Pope Francis who asked President Kiir to visit the Vatican.

Pope’s visit also comes two years after the Vatican postponed an anticipated trip to Juba over what the National Catholic Reporters described as due to security concerns.

The Pope had hoped to make a visit to South Sudan to “push for peace” after visiting the Central African Republic in 2015. But the Pope has now expressed interest to come to South Sudan.

President Salva Kiir was expected to return to the Vatican for a retreat with a select number of officials in 2019, according to the Minister of Information. But it’s not clear what blocked the planned visit.  

However, Francis and Welby had sought to visit the country in 2017, although the country’s violent conflict and deteriorating conditions had foiled those plans.

AFP

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