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“Keep train on track” for peace in Sudan pleads world churches leader



The general secretary of the World Council of Churches has pleaded for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Sudan so that Africa’s biggest country can achieve stability.


PICTURE: Benjamin Earwicker (


“For me, this peace agreement is such a costly gift and such an opportunity that should not be lost.”

– Rev Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches

Rev Olav Fykse Tveit said he understands from visits to the country, made before the signing of the pact in 2005, how Sudan desperately needs the peace agreement that ended a decades-long civil war. 

“For me, this peace agreement is such a costly gift and such an opportunity that should not be lost,” Rev Tveit told ENInews in an interview on 21st September at the beginning of a seven-day visit to Kenya and Ethiopia. 

On 9th January 2011, Sudan is scheduled to hold referenda in southern Sudan and the oil-rich Abyei border region between north and south Sudan. The result could see people from the south, where Christianity and traditional religions predominate, hive off from the north, where most people are Arabs, and Islam is dominant. 

The Abyei region will be choosing whether to join the north or south of the existing country. 

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army and the government in Khartoum signed their 2005 peace agreement in Kenya to end a 21-years-long civil war that had killed nearly two million people, mainly in the south. 

Rev Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran, told ENInews, “We (churches) have to realise that in agreements like this, not everything is straight forward but we have to ‘keep the train on the track’…In the long run, that is what matters.” 

Rev Tveit’s predecessor at the WCC, Rev Samuel Kobia, who has been appointed special ecumenical envoy to Sudan, has said he is deeply concerned that whatever the outcome of the Sudan referendum process is, it will be contested. Rev Kobia believes that mechanisms to resolve any conflicts stemming from the referendum should be agreed to and put in place quickly. 

“The lack of trust between the parties may lead to accusations of rigging. Any doubts in the south about the credibility of the referendum outcome could herald a return to war,”Rev Kobia warned in a statement issued on 27th September.


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