pope francis

Pope Francis, following the recitation of the Angelus announces a visit to the African nation of South Sudan.

The Pope during his Angelus on Sunday invited the faithful to pray for the African nation of South Sudan which he said, he wished to visit next year. The Pope had already expressed this wish during an audience with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

Speaking to the faithful in St Peter’s Square, the Pope said he wished to renew his invitation “to all those involved in the national political process to seek what unites and to overcome what divides, in a spirit of true brotherhood.” He also recalled the spiritual retreat for the Authorities of the country, which took place in the Vatican last April.

The Pontiff said “the South Sudanese people have suffered too much in recent years and look forward with great hope to a better future, especially the definitive end of conflicts and lasting peace. I therefore urge those responsible to continue, tirelessly, with their commitment to an inclusive dialogue in the search for consensus for the good of the nation.” The Pope expressed the hope that the international community would not neglect to accompany South Sudan on the path to national reconciliation.

Following its independence in 2011, South Sudan erupted into civil war in 2013. The President Salva Kiir accused his Vice-President Rieck Machar of orchestrating a coup against him. Up to 400,000 people have been killed and more than 4 million displaced in the conflict.