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Southern Sudan faces new threats on eve of independence: Vatican spokesman

June 06, 2011

The director of the Vatican press office has called attention to the forthcoming independence of southern Sudan, and the threats already facing the new nation.

In a weekly editorial, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, notes that “Africa’s 54th independent state is scheduled to be born on July 9,” following a referendum in which the people of the region voted overwhelmingly for independence. That referendum ended Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil war.

However, the new nation will face immediate dangers, Father Lombardi warned, citing the efforts to impose Shari’a law in the north and the violence in the nearby Abyei region as threats that could lead to renewed hostilities.

“There are reasons for hope—but they are fragile,” the papal spokesman said. He called upon the international community to show solidarity with the people of southern Sudan and work to maintain the peace.


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