World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

Churches' presence in the Sudan peace process

01 March 2004

Letter to H.E. Ali Osman Taha, Vice-President of Sudan and H.E. John Garang,
Commander-in-Chief of SPLA and Chairman of SPLM on the Ecumenical Envoy for
Sudan, 1 March, 2004

Your Excellencies,

First of all, I wish to reiterate my deep appreciation for your kind words of congratulations
on my election as General Secretary of the World Council of Churches.

I greatly value the time I had with you, individually, during my call on you at
Naivasha last October.

I write this letter now on the above subject. The churches in Sudan, Africa and
around the world have been accompanying the Sudan peace process in prayer as
well as in concrete ways of material support for education and other development
programmes. In order to facilitate the churches' presence and consultation with
yourselves, the IGAD, the Troika and various Nairobi-based Missions involved
in the peace process, the churches approached the WCC to name an ecumenical
envoy. That is the position I occupied prior to my new position. Owing to my
new heavy responsibilities, it is not feasible for me to continue my role as Ecumenical
Envoy for Sudan. But it is the considered opinion and desire of the churches that
the role I played should continue. And this has my full support. This is because
the main work of the envoy is to be a bridge between Track I (the IGAD process)
and the grassroots initiatives, including the churches' work for peace and reconciliation.

In order to continue this role, therefore, the Sudan Ecumenical Forum, acting
on behalf of the churches of Sudan and the global ecumenical community, has
named two eminent church leaders to constitute the Ecumenical Envoy for Sudan.

It is my pleasure to introduce to you Bishop Mvume Dandala, who is also the
General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC), and Bishop
Kevin Dowling, a South African Catholic Bishop who is also Chairman of the
Sudan Ecumenical Forum. The two gentlemen have kindly agreed to be Ecumenical
Envoys for Sudan. They will be assisted by Mr Melaku Kifle, a senior staff in the
WCC International Affairs Department whom I designate as my special representative
in this process. I commend the three gentlemen to you and ask you kindly
to give them audience and support as appropriate. I personally and in my official
capacity remain fully committed to the Sudan peace process and will accord
the ecumenical envoys every support. If and when considered necessary, I will be
available to render my services to enhance the process towards peace and justice
for Sudan.

In conclusion, I wish to congratulate you both on your achievements so far.
Your signing of the agreement on wealth-sharing marked a significant step towards
a comprehensive peace agreement. My prayer is that Almighty God will continue
to give you good health, clarity of mind and wisdom during the final round
of your negotiations. The eyes of the world are focused on the two of you as you
continue your negotiations in Naivasha. Above all the people of Sudan eagerly
await your final decisions which will doubtlessly contribute hugely to the destiny
of your beloved country, Sudan.

With every good wish,

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary