by Justus Waimiri
[ACNS source: Council of the Anglican Provinces of Africa] Over 40 Anglican and Catholic bishops from Sudan have supported current talks to bring lasting peace in the country.
The bishops who met in Uganda last week for a joint retreat said the current peace process being negotiated under the ambit of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) should not be allowed to collapse. They said the talks provided the only viable process for finding lasting peace.
"If we allow these negotiations to collapse, then it will give a good excuse for war to continue unabated," they said. "Any contentious issues should be ironed out amicably and in good faith."
The theme of the retreat was "Transforming the Sudanese society from a culture of war to a culture of peace" and was attended by Archbishop Joseph Marona from the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, and top leadership from the Catholic Church in Sudan.
Kenya is spearheading the IGAD peace talks, which opened its third round at the Mount Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki on Monday. The chairman of the talks, Retired Gen Lazarus Sumbeiywo, has expressed confidence that a peace deal will be reached this month.
The Sudanese government, led by President Omar el Bashir, has been warring with the southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) over religious freedom, oil and the right for southerners to rule themselves for the past 20 years.
Observers are of the view that this is the most critical stage of finding peace in the war-torn country.