After violence broke out in Abyei, near the border of northern and southern Sudan, ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson and U.S. Episcopal Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori released a June 4 joint statement. The fighting reportedly devastated the town and displaced as many as 120,000 people. Hanson and Jefferts Schori called for prayers for peace and international action for stability.
“We have watched with great sorrow as the new outbreak of violence in Sudan has threatened the resumption of widespread conflict,” they wrote.
Calling Abyei a “proving-ground” for the nation’s 2005 comprehensive peace agreement, the two leaders urged three actions:
• Insistence by the U.S. and other parties that the 2005 peace agreement be immediately and fully implemented in Abyei and across Sudan.Referencing conversations with Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, leader of a 4 million-member Episcopal church in Sudan, the two warned that peace is fragile.
• Increased diplomatic pressure from the international community for northern Sudanese military units to withdraw from Abyei.
• Monetary gifts to the ELCA International Disaster Response or its Episcopal counterpart toward emergency food, clean water and shelter.
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