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VATICAN CITY, NEWS.va - Holy See press office director Fr. Federico Lombardi issued the following statement Friday: Tomorrow 9 July, the new Republic of South Sudan will be proclaimed in the city of Juba. For this solemn occasion, the Holy Father has sent an official delegation headed by Cardinal John Njue, archbishop of Nairobi and president of the Kenya Episcopal Conference. The delegation, which will also include Archbishop Leo Boccardi, apostolic nuncio to Sudan, and Msgr. Javier Herrera Corona, secretary of the apostolic nunciature to Kenya, will bring the authorities of the new State, and all its citizens many of whom are Catholic, best wishes for peace and prosperity.
As Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States, said yesterday when receiving a Sudanese parliamentary delegation led by Ahmed Ibrahim Elthair, president of the Sudanese National Assembly, peace, reconciliation and respect for universal rights (especially religious liberty) are the fundamental pillars upon which to construct the new socio-political circumstances of the region, and vital conditions in order to be able to look to a future of hope.
The Holy See, which has had stable diplomatic relations with the authorities of Khartoum since 1972 and will give due consideration to any request from the government of Southern Sudan, invites the international community to support Sudan and the new independent State so that, through frank, peaceful and constructive dialogue, they may find just and equitable solutions to outstanding questions; at the same time she expresses the hope that those peoples will enjoy a journey of peace, freedom and development.