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Pope says he intends to go to South Sudan, urges dialogue

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis says he intends to go to South Sudan, where efforts are underway to salvage a peace deal.

In public remarks Sunday, Francis also urged the African nation’s leaders to find “consensus” for the good of the country. South Sudan president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar last week agreed to postpone forming a coalition government for 100 days to resolve security and governance issues.

Francis didn’t detail his travel plans, only saying “I must visit” South Sudan “this year.” The pope travels to Asia later this month. In past years, he has spoken of a hoped-for pilgrimage to South Sudan.

Francis referred to a visit by the two leaders at the Vatican this year, when he got down on his knees to entreat them to preserve peace.

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