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Vatican to host ‘spiritual retreat’ for South Sudan factions

President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar are expected to travel to Rome.

The Vatican (Nick Potts/PA)
The Vatican (Nick Potts/PA)

South Sudan’s president and opposition leader are expected to travel to the Vatican next week for what the Holy See says is a “spiritual retreat” and opposition officials say is an effort to help implement the country’s peace deal.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti confirmed the visit on Wednesday.

He said a spiritual retreat was scheduled next week at the Vatican for “the leaders of South Sudan”.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, left, and opposition leader Riek Machar shake hands during peace talks last year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Mulugeta Ayene/AP)

He did not identify them.

The meeting comes a month after President Salva Kiir met with Pope Francis to discuss the peace process.

A deputy spokesman for opposition leader Riek Machar, Manawa Peter, said the April 10 Vatican meeting between Mr Machar and Mr Kiir would focus on confidence-building and helping to bring the two together.

A peace deal calls for a functional government by May.



From Belfast Telegraph