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Archbishop to Encourage Peace and Development in Sudan

Friday 17th February 2006

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, is to visit Sudan next week and will mark the start of Lent - a season of fasting and penitence for the Church - by visiting UN World Food Programme locations on the White Nile.

The Archbishop has been invited by the Primate of the Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Dr Joseph Marona.

During the course of the visit, Dr Williams will meet with the Government of National Unity in Sudan as well as Muslim and Christian faith leaders in both Khartoum and Southern Sudan. He will spend Ash Wednesday - a day of fasting - by taking part in barge and school distribution projects in Malakal.

The Archbishop's official programme will begin in Khartoum on Sunday February 25th 2006 and he will return to the UK the following Sunday. As well as church services and other official meetings and events in Khartoum and Juba, Dr Williams will visit a Displaced People's Settlement in Khartoum, and consecrate a new cathedral in Renk, offering new hope and encouragement to millions of Anglicans across the country. He will also visit a rural school under a tree in an area recently attacked by a well armed militia group claiming to be the Lords Resistance Army. Detailed extracts from the programme and media arrangements are below.

Dr Williams will be accompanied on this visit by the Bishop of Salisbury, Dr David Stancliffe. The Diocese of Salisbury and the Diocese of Bradford have long-established links with the Province of Sudan.

Dr Williams said:

"The Episcopal Church in the Sudan remains one of the key civil society organisations capable of delivering reconciliation and sustained development in the region. I am proud to be visiting them at this crucial time in their country's history and I look forward to supporting the work of the World Food Programme in Sudan. I am anxious to see governments, UN agencies and faith based organisations working together to strengthen all that makes for peace in a land that has known far too much of war."

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