The Anglican Primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, has welcomed the latest peace initiatives in the country, but said that politicians need to do more to turn peace on paper into peace on the ground. South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has been at war with itself for most of its existence. Today, the warring parties are once again meeting in an attempt to cement a recent peace agreement signed in neighbouring Sudan, that was brokered by the Inter-Governmental Authority (IGAD) on Development, a regional international body.
During a visit to the Anglican Communion Office in London last week, Archbishop Justin spoke to the Anglican Communion News Service and expressed his gratitude to IGAD and other regional bodies “for the efforts they are doing to bring peace and stability back to South Sudan.”
He said: “We very much welcome the recent developments in the signing of the agreements in Khartoum. But as a Church, we believe that peace is not something on paper. Peace is a practical reality on the ground, which does not just come with the signing of papers.
“Our own assessment as the Church of South Sudan is that there is much to do to bring the political will amongst the leaders so that truth is central and there is true reconciliation and forgiveness that will give room for real peace in South Sudan; but otherwise, political will on paper is what we are doubting.”
He said that unless truth was central to the process, the current agreement would remain a peace deal only on paper.
“The people of South Sudan are doubting because since, from the start of the peace [process], we learnt our lesson as South Sudanese. In 2016, after the signing of peace which was without political will . . . there was much violence. That is why we are doubting this time.”