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Archbishop challenges Sudanese Government to demonstrate new commitment to peace

Posted on: May 1, 2000 11:22 AM
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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, on a two-day visit to war ravaged Sudan has challenged the country's leaders to demonstrate a new commitment to peace. Speaking from Cairo at the end of his visit to James Naughtie of Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Monday 1st May, the Archbishop said:

"I have been talking to a number of very significant leaders. I came away feeling a sense of a war-weary country desperately looking for peace- and a feeling that the Government is also beginning to soften it's attitude to some degree- They are very sensitive now to the image that Sudan has in the rest of the world, an image of a country where abductions are taking place, and where there is no freedom of religion and they're very anxious to say that that is not the case-my challenge to them is that we need to have proof of that"

During his visit the Archbishop had visited a refugee camp outside Khartoum. "The level of despair was almost palpable," he said. "There's a feeling on the part of so many people that the situation is getting worse and worse-I spoke to some camp elders as well as some very depressed teachers who told me not only about feeling displaced, but all the Dinkas and the tribes feeling that they are 'rootless trees' they are appealing to the wider world to assist them, to pray for them and send aid, but most of all to bring this terrible war to an end."

The Archbishop was visiting Sudan to attend the enthronement of the new Archbishop for Sudan, the Most Reverend Joseph Marona. During his visit the Archbishop had talks with the Minister for Social Planning, (responsible for religious affairs in the Sudan,), the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the First Vice-President.