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Pope calls for rival Sudanese parties to lay down arms

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis on Sunday called for warring factions in Sudan to set aside their weapons, expressing sadness at the violence that has continued for more than a month in the African nation.

“In encouraging the partial agreements reached so far, I renew my heartfelt plea for weapons to be set aside,” the pope told pilgrims in St Peter’s Square.

“I call on the international community to spare no effort so that dialogue prevails and that the suffering of the people can be alleviated,” he added.

Read More: Zelenskiy asks pope to back Kyiv peace plan, help return children

The fighting between Sudan’s army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has led to a collapse of order. The rival groups in Sudan signed an agreement late on Saturday for a seven-day ceasefire that is due to take effect on Monday evening.

“Please let’s not get accustomed to war. And we should continue to support the war-torn people of Ukraine,” added the Pope after delivering the Regina Caeli prayer.

Read More: WFP says $13 million-14 million worth of food looted in Sudan

The Pope has asked Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, head of the Italian bishops’ conference, to carry out a peace mission to try to help end the war in Ukraine, the Vatican said on Saturday.

A Vatican diplomatic source said Zuppi would try to meet separately with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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