Vatican, 11 April 2019; The meeting between South Sudan’s two bitter enemies in Vatican according to the source went on smoothly, the source said both Kiir and Machar have set one step closer to achieve a lasting peace.
Pope Francis called Thursday for warring South Sudanese factions to respect the latest armistice after a two-day Vatican retreat aimed at shoring up the fragile peace.
"I express my heartfelt hope that hostilities will finally cease, that the armistice will be respected," the pope told President Salva Kiir and main opposition leader Riek Machar at the Vatican.
The pontiff said he hoped "that political and ethnic divisions will be surmounted, and that there will be a lasting peace for the common good of all those citizens who dream of beginning to build the nation".
The arch-rivals last saw each other in October last year, shortly after the signing of a power-sharing deal, when Machar made a brief return to Juba for the first time since fleeing on foot in a hail of gunfire in July 2016.
The meeting between the two men had been billed as "an occasion for encounter and reconciliation, in a spirit of respect and trust," the Vatican said, describing it as "both ecumenical and diplomatic at the same time".
After the retreat, the pope kissed the South Sudanese leaders' feet, saying: "Your people is awaiting your return to your country, the reconciliation of all its members, and a new era of peace and prosperity for all."
"People are wearied, exhausted by past conflicts: remember that with war, all is lost! Your people today are yearning for a better future, which can only come about through reconciliation and peace."
Despite what has been achieved in Vatican, the road ahead for the two men to negotiate the formation of unified national army will be tough and rough, the Khartoum peace accord is lacking behind, the government mainly blame it on lack of financial support from international community.
The other problem is the chief peace guarantor President al Bashir of Sudan is now out of power., it is therefore unclear whether Sudan which is now facing political uncertainty will continue to play a pivotal role to support peace effort in South Sudan.