On 29th January 2020 the Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty’s Government “what priority they give to Sudan and South Sudan among their foreign policy objectives.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, asked a follow up question:
The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, the Minister will be aware of the meeting in the Vatican last April of religious and political leaders from South Sudan, including the President and leading rebel and opposition groups; and of the Pope’s announcement when we met last November that he intended to make a joint visit himself, with me and a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, at the end of March if the transitional Government had been established by that time in Juba. The period for establishing that Government runs out towards the end of February. May we have assurance that with the whole thing in the balance—and given what we heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Cox—Her Majesty’s Government will apply carrot and stick vigorously, and give full attention over the next four weeks to enabling this new Government to happen solidly in Juba, including the presence of leading rebel members such as Riek Machar, to get a framework for peace?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Again, I pay tribute to the most reverend Primate for his work in South Sudan. I know this is an area close to his heart. Let me assure him that we are working closely not just with the Government but with civil society to ensure that we keep on track, and that the peace agreement between the two countries remains intact. We are supporting civil society organisations as well; for example, the UK is funding and enabling the South Sudan Council of Churches to engage in mediation. That is an important part of the reconciliation process in South Sudan, and for that matter in Sudan as well.