Pope hopes for South Sudan peace as leaders end Vatican retreat

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Reports say the Catholic church leader appealed to the South Sudanese president, Salva Kiir and his former deputy turned rebel leader Riek Machar, as well as three other vice presidents who were also at the retreat to abide by whatever peace agreement that would be arrived at. "I ask you from my heart, let us go forward". But the two leaders slipping away the longer the more in control of their areas - many of its combat troops have now self-conscious Warlords at the top, which act more and more independently and financially from the civil war to profit, because they exploit the rich mineral resources of the country on their own.

"There will be struggles, disagreements among you but keep them within you, inside the office, so to speak", Francis said in Italian as an aide translated into English. A peace deal last August has reduced but not stopped the fighting.

Pope Francis has broken with papal protocol by kneeling to kiss the feet of South Sudan leaders at the Vatican.

"We Christians believe and know that peace is possible, for Christ is risen".

In Sudan, Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced the end of Bashir's rule saying the country would enter a two-year period of military rule to be followed by presidential elections.

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. "But in front of the people, hold hands united".

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 Holy Father encouraged the South Sudanese leaders to "seek what unites you, beginning with the fact that you belong to one and the same people, and to overcome all that divides you".

"Peace is the first gift that the Lord brought us, and the first commitment that leaders of nations must pursue".

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