Pope Francis, on Thursday kissed the feet of South Sudan’s rival leaders at the close of a 2-day retreat in the Vatican for the African leaders.
According to DailyMail, the Pope encouraged the rival leaders, President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar to strengthen the country’s peace process.
“I express my heartfelt hope that hostilities will finally cease, that the armistice will be respected, 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,” the pope said of South Sudan in his closing statement.
The pope kissed Kiir and Machar’s feet, as well as those of Kiir’s three vice presidents.
South Sudan’s conflict began 2 years after it gained independence from Sudan in 2011. The country went into a bloody civil war that’s left at least 400,000 people dead.