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African religious leaders have called on east African governments to take action for peace in South Sudan, a year after the signing of a revitalized peace agreement.

Thousands of African faith leaders who were meeting in Nairobi called on east African leaders to urge President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to implement the South Sudanese peace agreement in good faith.

Business24

“The regional leaders, as South Sudan’s good neighbors, must now speak the truth to the leaders of South Sudan, on behalf of the millions of voiceless South Sudanese men, women and children who bear the brunt of the conflict,” the leaders said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The South Sudanese leadership has a moral obligation to their citizens to end the violence and ensure continued progress toward peace, stability and justice, the statement said.

East African leaders must encourage the South Sudanese leadership toward a more lasting peace, particularly today, the one-year anniversary of the signing of the peace agreement ending a civil war that has ravaged Africa’s youngest nation since 2013.

The religious leaders come from the African Council of Religious Leaders-Religions for Peace, the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, the All Africa Conference of Churches, with support from the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in East Africa and the African Forum for Muslim Councils.

“We… stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, the people of South Sudan on this historic day,” the statement said. “We prayerfully look forward to a peaceful, united and just South Sudan that is founded on the values of peace and love for one another.”

They also called on the regional leaders to urge Kiir to urgently release the balance of the 100 million U.S. dollars pledged in May as a demonstration of genuine commitment to the peace process.

South Sudan descended into conflict in December 2013 after Kiir sacked his deputy, Machar, leading to fighting between soldiers loyal to Kiir and those loyal to Machar.

The conflict has since killed tens of thousands and displaced millions of others, both internally and externally.

A peace deal signed in 2015 collapsed after renewed violence in July 2016, forcing Machar to flee the capital.

Under the 2018 peace deal, Machar will take up one of the four vice presidency positions in the transitional government. Enditem

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