, 01 September, 2020 / 10:00 PM
The Archbishop of Sudan’s Khartoum Archdiocese has termed the signing of the peace deal between the Sudanese government and a dissident group in Darfur region aimed at integrating the rebel group into the country’s national army as a “step forward” and urged political leaders to make it comprehensive by bringing on board any other parties left out.
“I think this peace agreement is something; a step forward but it needs to be completed so that all the warring parties sign the agreement,” Archbishop Michael Didi told ACI Africa in an interview on Tuesday, September 1.
He was making reference to the Monday, August 31 Sudan peace deal signed in South Sudan’s capital, Juba.
Archbishop Didi added, “I do not know if we can call this agreement comprehensive because some other armed forces in Sudan are still out and I hear they haven’t accepted to sign. A peace agreement becomes comprehensive when all those who are armed join the agreement with no one left out.”
The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the Southern states of Kordofan and Blue Nile, signed the peace agreement at a ceremony in Juba, which has hosted and helped mediate the protracted talks since late 2019.
Although the agreement covers key issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing and the return of people who fled their homes because of war, two rebel factions declined to take part in the deal, Aljazeera reported.
In the Tuesday, September 1 interview with ACI Africa, the Archbishop of Khartoum expressed worry saying, “I don’t know if this agreement will make things any better without all the parties in the agreement.”
Expressing joy over the ceasefire and cessation of hostilities that is still holding in the North-East African country, the Catholic leader advocated for a comprehensive peace agreement for lasting peace to be signed by all parties in conflict.
“There is just a cessation of hostilities and ceasefire; to me it is not the same as the peace agreement,” Archbishop Didi said and added, “When there is just cessation of hostilities, the situation shouldn’t be equated to peace.”
“The warring parties have to agree; they began together the process of obtaining peace for the Sudanese people but I understand yesterday only some armed groups signed the peace agreement and others did not,” he said, adding that now was the time for all concerned parties to air their views ahead of the peace negotiations.
Archbishop Didi further told ACI Africa that cessation of hostilities and invitation to peace talks was an opportune moment for dialogue between the Sudanese political groups in arms.
“Since the parties have in place cessation of hostilities, this is the good time that they can talk. The best conclusion of the cessation of hostilities is the peace agreement,” the Sudanese Prelate said.
He also said that he had received numerous messages from the people in South Sudan who had followed the televised signing of the peace deal, expressing their gratitude at the peace deal. Few, however, had expressed their displeasure at the development, according to the Sudanese Prelate.
“All of them are now in the state of no war, no peace somehow; there is a ceasefire being declared by the main warring parties, and I think it is holding up (for) now, that is something to celebrate,” Archbishop Didi said, and added, “The only thing that was remaining after the cessation of hostilities was to sign the agreement and say no more war but only peace.”
Subscribe to our Free Daily ACI Africa Newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church – so that you can grow in your Catholic faith and awareness about the people of God in Africa.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa