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Archbishop of Canterbury urges immediate ‘peace and end to violence’ in Sudan after UN mission withdrawal

by Reuters Journalist

The Archbishop of Canterbury has taken to social media to share his concerns about the current situation in Sudan.

On Sunday, a United Nations political mission in war-torn Sudan, known as UNITAMS, ended following a request from the country's acting foreign minister last month. It will start winding down over the next three months.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Most Rev Justin Welby sent his support to the Archbishop of Sudan, Most Rev. Ezekiel Kondo and the nation.

He wrote: “The civil war is bringing unimaginable agony to far too many. Thousands have died, many more have been displaced and there are reports of destruction and looting of church properties and healthcare facilities. I urgently appeal for a just peace and an end to the killing. Human life is sacred and must be protected and preserved at all costs.

“To the members of the Episcopal Church of Sudan and the entire Sudanese community, I echo the assurance of my brothers, the African Anglican Primates: ‘The Lord is with you; it is He who brings wars to an end and renders weapons powerless’ (Psalm 46:9). Do not despair, for you are not abandoned. May you, even now, receive the Lords unshakeable promise of peace (John 14:27).”

A war erupted on 15th April between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces after weeks of rising tension between the two sides over a plan to integrate forces as part of a transition from military rule to civilian democracy.

UNITAMS was established by the 15-member council in June 2020 to provide support to Sudan during its political transition to democratic rule.

"We reiterate that the Sudanese authorities remain responsible for the safety and security of UNITAMS staff and assets during this transition and call for their full cooperation in allowing an orderly withdrawal," deputy British U.N. Ambassador James Kariuki told the council.

Violence against civilians in Sudan is "verging on pure evil," a senior United Nations official warned last month, as a humanitarian crisis in the country worsens and ethnic violence escalates in the western region of Darfur.

A U.N. country team providing humanitarian and development aid will remain in the country, where the U.N. says nearly 25 million people - half the population - need help. 

"We affirm the government's readiness to continue constructive engagement with the U.N. by strengthening cooperation with a country team," Dafallah Alhaj, an envoy to Sudan's army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan, told the council.

He said the delivery of humanitarian aid was a top priority.

The U.N. special envoy to Sudan announced in September that he was stepping down, more than three months after Sudan declared him unwelcome.

(Additional reporting by a Premier journalist)

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