Pope Francis kisses feet of once-rival South Sudan leaders

Pope Francis kneels to kiss the feet of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir at the Vatican on Thursday

Pope Francis has kissed the feet of South Sudan's leaders appealing to them as brothers to keep the peace.

Pope Francis asked South Sudan's President and opposition leader to proceed with the peace agreement despite growing tension. I am asking you with my heart, let us go forward.

The two sides of war-ravaged South Sudan will not be able to meet a May 12 deadline to form a unity government because key requirements of a peace deal have not been met, former rebel leader Riek Machar told Reuters on Friday.

What is left to be seen is whether the Sudanese leaders will make peace to not only honour the pope's plea to them, but also to help cease the loss of precious lives through a civil war that has been ongoing for years. He has entrusted much to us, and for this reason will require from us much more!

"Sudan labored so hard to restore peace and stability and because of that we have the current prevailing peace agreement in South Sudan and it is a guarantor", Martin Elia Lomoro, South Sudan's Cabinet affairs minister, said in a meeting with worldwide cease-fire monitors.

The retreat was the idea of Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, who attended the final part of the gathering.

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The 82-year-old pope pleaded for peace in a striking gesture during a meeting with leaders from the troubled country that gained independence from neighbouring Sudan in 2011 and then was mired in a violent internal conflict.

"So we need to establish adequate security from the two forces so that our people can have confidence that this agreement will hold".

In a report by Reuters, it was gathered that the event played out Thursday, April 11, during the pope's short retreat 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". In South Sudan, rule of starvation due to the civil war.

"Peace is possible", the pope told the leaders.

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