South Sudan lifts Suspension on Rome Peace Talks ahead of Ecumenical Visit

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South Sudan has announced the lifting of the suspension on the Rome Peace talks with the Non-Signatory groups days to the arrival of Pope Francis, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Iain Greenshields, to the country.

In November 2022, the government of South Sudan announced it was suspending its participation in the Rome peace talks, accusing the Non-Signatories South Sudanese Opposition Groups (NSSSOG) of “lacking commitment” and preparing for war.

Addressing journalists on January 28, South Sudan’s Minister for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin, said that President Salva Kiir lifted the suspension of the peace talks in respect for the Church leaders expected in South Sudan on Friday, February 3.

“The president has lifted the postponement of the Rome peace talks, and he has instructed the government to resume peace talks with non-signatories,” Dr. Marial said.

He added, “The arrival of the Pope and two other global Church leaders is very important. That's why the President had to change his mind to resume the peace talk.”


The head of state ordered the resumption of negotiations in honor of the coming spiritual leaders,” the South Sudanese Minister said in reference to the peace negotiations that Sant’Egidio Community, the Rome-based lay Catholic association dedicated to the provision of social services and arbitrating conflicts, spearheaded.

The Holy Father is to set to arrive in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, on Friday, February 3 on the second leg of his two-African-nation visit that has started in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday, January 31.

In his address to journalists January 28, Dr. Marial is quoted as saying that President Kiir “has instructed the government delegation to return to the negotiating table with the opposition parties.”

“As a government, we are ready to resume the talk with the opposition to bring peace to our people and the country,” Dr. Marial said on the day he was touring the streets where the delegation of the Holy Father is scheduled to pass through.

He added, “We expect the country to have stability and reconciliation through the visit because the nation has been going through tough times.”

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In December 2022, the leadership of Sant’ Egidio Community met with South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, over the resumption of the suspended peace talks.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Sant'Egidio representatives at the meeting reportedly reiterated their commitment “to bring peace and stability to Africa’s youngest nation.” 

“We will continue mediating between the government and holdout groups in order to find an amicable solution for the sake of the South Sudanese people,” the Secretary General of Sant'Egidio Community, Dr. Paolo Impagliazzo, was quoted as saying. 

Dr. Impagliazzo added, “We are committed to bringing the two sides closer for common understanding to restore peace and stability in South Sudan.”