Thank you, Madame President, and thank you, Special Representative Menkerios, President Mkapa, Ambassador Osman on behalf of Foreign Minister Karti, and Minister Alor, as well as the representative of President Mbeki for your very encouraging comments here today. We deeply appreciate your ongoing dedication to the cause of peace in Sudan.
After decades of conflict, the images of millions of Southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the entire world—and another step forward in Africa’s long journey towards justice and democracy. Now, all parties have a responsibility to ensure that this historic moment of promise becomes a moment of lasting progress.
On behalf of the people of the United States, let me again congratulate the people of South Sudan for a successful and historic referendum in which the overwhelming majority of voters chose independence. We welcome the announcement of the final referendum results and the Government of Sudan’s acceptance of that outcome. We thank the Secretary General’s Referenda Monitoring Panel, led by President Mkapa, for its crucial role in the process. We are grateful that the entire process was peaceful, and we commend both parties. Respecting the referendum’s outcome is our best hope for preventing renewed conflict, and we appreciate the positive statements made thus far by Sudan’s leaders and by international actors. We call special attention to the African Union’s intention to recognize the referendum’s outcome and its call on all states to do likewise. Official recognition of the new state will be crucial. And as President Obama has announced, it is the intention of the United States to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011.
Madame President, by summer, the international community will welcome a new nation, the Republic of South Sudan. This nation will face the task of providing security and stability for its people after decades of war. The international community came together in support of the referendum, and this broad, multilateral unity was essential to the process’ success. It is now time to support the people of Sudan as they move into a new phase of their history. The people of all parts of Sudan need to know that they have our full support during this critical period.
With the referendum process completed, it is more important than ever that outstanding issues like the status of Abyei be resolved as quickly as possible. We are pleased to note the January 27 Presidency meeting in which Sudan’s leaders agreed to continue to discuss ways to swiftly resolve the Abyei impasse. We urge that these negotiations continue at the highest level. We appreciate the parties’ efforts over recent weeks to maintain calm on the ground in Abyei, and it is imperative that a compromise be found to break this impasse and maintain peace in this very tense region. Special Representative Menkerios, we are deeply grateful for your leadership, and we look to you and the United Nations to continue to play a very active role. As long as Abyei’s status remains unresolved, it could indeed trigger further instability across Sudan. So your work and that of others in that regard is very important. We also consider peaceful and inclusive popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states that reflect the will of the people to be essential components of implementing the CPA. We urge the parties to ensure that these processes are completed before the interim period ends.
Beyond resolving outstanding CPA issues, we hope that the parties will also work to quickly complete post-referendum arrangements. We urge the parties to swiftly resolve the remaining issues of citizenship, security, water, debts and assets, currency, oil management, and wealth sharing. Resolving these issues will facilitate international assistance to Sudan, both North and South, and help ensure a peaceful post-CPA transition. Alternatively, leaving them unresolved is but an invitation to trouble.
We believe that the United Nations should continue to play an important role in assisting the parties to implement their CPA-mandated responsibilities, and we urge the parties to consider ways that a United Nations peacekeeping presence can help their peace efforts and support post-CPA agreements, especially on security. The African Union is also actively engaged on these issues, and we fully support the work of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel and its chair, President Thabo Mbeki, including his engagement in Darfur.
The United States remains strongly committed to ensuring lasting resolution of the Darfur conflict, and we are deeply concerned about the region’s deteriorating security situation. U.S. Senior Advisor on Darfur Ambassador Dane Smith will work with all parties to ensure justice and accountability and to reach a comprehensive political solution. We will also persist in our efforts to improve security and humanitarian conditions for the people of Darfur. We continue to condemn in the strongest possible terms the Government of Sudan’s use of aerial bombardment, and we also ask Council members to join us in the same. Ending aerial bombardment and ensuring full freedom of movement for UNAMID and humanitarian aid workers are essential steps—ones that would clearly demonstrate the Government of Sudan’s commitment to ending the violence in Darfur.
The renewed fighting in December, chiefly between the Government of Sudan and the Minni Minawi faction of the SLM, displaced tens of thousands of civilians. Regrettably, the Government of Sudan continues to refuse UNAMID full freedom of movement.
This Council has had numerous discussions on this issue, including last week with Joint Special Representative Gambari. We have a responsibility to the civilians of Darfur, who live under the continual threat of violence, to press UNAMID to fully implement its Chapter VII mandate.
We call on the Government of Sudan and rebel movements to reach an immediate ceasefire agreement and to engage seriously to find a political solution to a conflict that has lasted far too long. The United States has repeatedly made clear that, for its relationship with the Government of Sudan to reach its full potential, as we fervently hope it will, the Government of Sudan must bring peace to Darfur; fully cooperate with UNAMID; provide unrestricted humanitarian access to Darfur; implement a comprehensive peace agreement; and contribute to efforts to achieve accountability, justice, and reconciliation, while upholding international law and complying with all Security Council resolutions.
Madame President, this is, at its essence, a moment of hope after a long time of trial. Sudan has suffered far too much for far too long. Now that the referendum has passed, we will continue to work closely with the Sudanese people in both the North and the South—to ensure that the referendum is not the end of a process but the beginning of a better future for both nations.
Thank you, Madame President.
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