Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby visit to Sudan: President Bashir says government keen to preserve peaceful religious coexistence in the country

SUNA News & Photo:

Archbishop of Canterbury in Sudan for rare visit

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby arrived in Khartoum on Sunday for a rare visit to Sudan. He will inaugurate the Anglican Church of Sudan and hold talks with Sudanese officials, including President Omar al-Bashir, during his four-day visit.

Until now, the Anglican church in Sudan has been administrated from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011.

Archbishop Welby is also expected to visit Kadugli, one of five dioceses in Sudan, where there has been violent conflict.

In a statement, Sudan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs welcomed Welby’s visit, saying it reflects tolerance and religious freedoms in the country. The archbishop is expected to raise the issue of religious freedom and address both Christian and Muslim groups during his stay in Sudan.

Sudan, a Muslim-majority country,  has been accused of oppressing Christians with several leaders arrested on charges of espionage. Sudanese authorities have repeatedly refused to give permits for building any new churches in the country.

Sudan is currently number five on the Open Doors world watch list of countries where persecution is most severe.

 Speech of Archbishop of Canterbury

It is a great privilege to be here in the Sudan.

Today we visited the diocese of Kadugli in the Nuba mountains, where we met religious leaders as well as refugees and IDPs.

I was struck in particular by two things.

First, the attitude towards refugees. Sudan sets an example to many around the world in its welcome to those in need. I'm sure it's a great pressure on the government and local people to receive such large numbers, and the people of Sudan have shown true humanity.

Second, the hope for peace and reconciliation. In Kadugli today I heard inspiring stories from Christian and Muslim leaders who want peace, and who are actively working together to achieve it. They need peace. They understand more than anyone else the cost of war. Pray that the world rallies behind them, fulfilling the promises of support made.

Peacemaking is the call of God on us all. So join me in praying for peace. Pray for those in areas of difficulty. Pray that they will know that they are not forgotten. Sudan is a country that could be prosperous and successful - let us pray it will be so. Pray for courage, justice and a hunger for the common good in government at all levels.

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