Together with all the people of Sudan, I give thanks and praise to Almighty God for the signing which took place in Naivasha, Kenya, of Protocols to lead to a peace agreement between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA). This is a very encouraging day for the Sudanese people, and I warmly congratulate the President of Sudan, His Excellency Lt Gen Omer El Bashir, and the leader of the SPLA, Dr John Garang on reaching this important moment.
We have been praying for all those involved in the negotiations during the 101 days of talks and we know that the issues have been difficult and highly complex. We therefore congratulate the negotiators, in particular the First Vice President, His Excellency Ali Osman Taha, and SPLA Leader Dr John Garang on achieving important agreements on the issues of power sharing and the three areas of Nuba Mountains, Southern Blue Nile and Abyei. We also thank and congratulate the Special Envoy of the IGAD Sudan Peace Process, Lt Gen Lazaro K Sumbeiywo, and the international community who have been supporting the process.
We now call upon all the people of Sudan to take hold of this opportunity to achieve peace in Sudan. The seeds for peace have been planted and now must be given the opportunity to grow. We all have a responsibility to protect what has been achieved and nurture it towards achieving a just and lasting peace. God has given us a new opportunity to stop the fighting in the whole of Sudan. None of our Sudanese people should be denied the opportunity to see their children grow up in peace. In particular:
- We call for the situation to be resolved in Dafur and the fighting to be brought to an immediate end
- We appeal to all armed groups still holding guns in different parts of the country to lay down their weapons and work together to create peace in Sudan
The time for peace has come. Let us commit ourselves and our country into the hands of God so that a comprehensive peace agreement may come to fruition. Let us commit ourselves to working at every level towards full implementation of this peace agreement. Let us commit ourselves to work together towards our vision of all the Sudanese people reconciled before God.
May the blessing of Almighty God be upon our country Sudan.
The Most Revd Dr Joseph Marona
Archbishop of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan
31 May 2004