16th June 2019
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Kiir to return to the Vatican for a retreat in April

Author: Joakino Francis | Published: 3 months ago

President Salva Kiir during his recent visit to Rome on 16th March, 2019. Photo: South Sudan Presidential Press Unit

President Salva Kiir is expected to return to the Vatican for a retreat with a select number of officials within the next few weeks, according to the Minister of Information.

Michael Makuei revealed this to reporters today after an extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on the President’s recent peace tour of the Bahr el Ghazal region.

Upon completing the peace tour, Kiir traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Francis where they discussed the implementation of the peace agreement, and other humanitarian support of the Vatican to the people of South Sudan.

In the meeting, the Vatican said his Holiness and the President discussed it with “a view to a definitive solution to the conflict, the return of the refugees and the displaced persons.”

They also looked at the integral development of South Sudan, including the contribution of the Catholic Church in the fields of education and healthcare.

Related story: https://eyeradio.org/president-salva-kiir-meet-pope-francis-at-the-vatican/?fbclid=IwAR1tXWq0SKyMgrovdqrGRIAa_HBuYGZOQGE0OWP6hifOjYH194VvgVz26kk

Michael Makuei says the President’s plans to return to the Vatican for a two-day retreat will also mark the end of Pre-Transitional period and the start of Revitalized government of national unity.

He said the retreat is yet another invitation by the Vatican to the President and his delegation.

“His Excellency is also invited with a delegation that he will nominate to go and attend meetings or what is called a retreat in the Vatican from the 11th to 12th of April…in order to go and have meetings with the concerned bodies and the institutions,” Makuei announced.

During the meeting between Kiir and the Pope this week, the Vatican said that “His Holiness expressed the wish to ascertain the conditions for a possible visit to South Sudan, as a sign of closeness to the population and of encouragement for the peace process.”

It is hoped that President Salva Kiir will invite Dr. Riek Machar, the leader of the Opposition Alliance, the FDs, and other stakeholders -who hold a major role in the success of the R-ARCSS -to accompany him in the forthcoming trip.

A civil society activist who spoke to Eye Radio said this will “reinforce trust, goodwill, and the spirit of working genuinely to implement the agreement” if the leaders can meet with the Pope jointly.

The ReTGoNU is expected to be formed in May this year.

“So that when they come back [to Juba] that will be almost to the end of Pre-Transitional Period… by then will be left with one month only,” Makuei added.

In May, Dr. Riek Machar and all parties signatory to the revitalized peace agreement are expected to form a 3-year government of national unity to deliver on the pledges of peace, security, economy restoration, development, and good governance across South Sudan.

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