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Holy See: Pope Francis kneels to kiss South Sudan rival leaders' feet01:25

Holy See: Pope Francis kneels to kiss South Sudan rival leaders' feet

Holy See (Vatican City State), Vatican
April 12, 2019 at 16:17 GMT +00:00 · Published

Pope Francis kissed the feet of rival South Sudan leaders in a sign of humility and support for the peace process in the war-torn country, during a retreat in the Vatican on Thursday.

The pontiff knelt down and kissed the shoes of President Salva Kiir and former militant leader Riek Machar, with his aides helping him to stoop down and perform the unprecedented act of deference.

Pope Francis asked the two leaders to move forward and maintain peace in the country, reportedly saying: "there will be many problems, but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems."

Traditionally the pontiff holds the ritual washing of the feet of inmates on Holy Friday, as part of Catholic Easter celebrations.

The Vatican meeting took place ahead of the end, next month, of the South Sudan peace deal's pre-transition period, with the two leaders set to form a unity government on May 12 after last September's peace agreement.

Holy See: Pope Francis kneels to kiss South Sudan rival leaders' feet01:25
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Pope Francis kissed the feet of rival South Sudan leaders in a sign of humility and support for the peace process in the war-torn country, during a retreat in the Vatican on Thursday.

The pontiff knelt down and kissed the shoes of President Salva Kiir and former militant leader Riek Machar, with his aides helping him to stoop down and perform the unprecedented act of deference.

Pope Francis asked the two leaders to move forward and maintain peace in the country, reportedly saying: "there will be many problems, but they will not overcome us. Resolve your problems."

Traditionally the pontiff holds the ritual washing of the feet of inmates on Holy Friday, as part of Catholic Easter celebrations.

The Vatican meeting took place ahead of the end, next month, of the South Sudan peace deal's pre-transition period, with the two leaders set to form a unity government on May 12 after last September's peace agreement.