2010-11-16 15:37:41

Sudan Bishops plea for peace on referendum issue

(November 16, 2010) The bishops of Sudan are proposing a message of hope in the lead-up to the January referendum that might create Africa's newest country by splitting the nation into two. Though the prelates offer words of hope, they recognize the "uncertainty, fear and even despair that burden the people of Sudan." They observe that preparations for the vote are "far behind schedule." The Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference released the statement Sunday, following their plenary assembly held last week in Rumbek. On Jan. 9, a referendum is set to decide whether southern Sudan will separate from the north and form its own country. The vote was stipulated by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended the civil war that began in 1983. It is feared, however, that the vote might not be recognized, and the bishops appeal to the international community to be ready to resolve a potential dispute. The Sudanese bishops offer 13 concrete appeals to lead their nation in peace. And they make their address not only to Catholics, but to the Muslim community, all people of Sudan, and the international community, among others.

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