Thank you, Mr. President.
Last Saturday, I had the honor of heading the U.S. delegation to Juba to celebrate South Sudan’s independence. It was a deeply moving day. After a half-century of war, at a cost of more than two million lives, the Republic of South Sudan can now finally determine its own future. The United States salutes the courage and sacrifice of the people of South Sudan, who never abandoned hope. After so many years of bitter conflict, South Sudan’s independence occurred peacefully and democratically through referendum—a heartening way for the world’s newest nation to be born.
Vice President Machar, welcome and congratulations to the people of the Republic of South Sudan. We are delighted that you are here to represent your new government at this meeting where the Security Council unanimously recommended that your country be admitted as the United Nation’s 193rd member state.
Ambassador Osman, we also commend the Government of Sudan’s decision to be the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence. We welcome all efforts to forge a relationship between Sudan and South Sudan that is rooted in mutual respect and cooperation—a relationship that strengthens the viability, security, and prosperity of both states. By continuing on the path of peace, the Government of Sudan can redefine its relationship with the international community and secure a brighter future for its people.
Mr. President, the Security Council remains fully engaged in helping both countries towards their shared goals of peace and stability. On July 8, this Council unanimously authorized a new UN peacekeeping mission in the Republic of South Sudan. UNMISS will assist the government as it builds a new nation, including on issues of peacebuilding, development, security, and protection.
But as we all know, this moment of promise is also fragile and fraught. Sudan and South Sudan must work hard to secure an enduring peace and two viable states coexisting as peaceful neighbors. It is vital that both countries work with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to swiftly resolve all outstanding issues. The parties need to finalize arrangements on the border, citizenship, oil, and other issues if they are to forge an enduring peace.
A permanent resolution of Abyei’s status remains elusive. Despite an agreement on temporary security arrangements and the imminent deployment of a UN interim security force, the situation in Abyei is still extremely volatile. An estimated 100,000 people remain displaced from their homes.
Meanwhile, brutal fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the troops of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North has displaced more than 70,000 people in Southern Kordofan. The Sudanese army is continuing and intensifying aerial bombardments that are killing civilians. On June 28, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North agreed to a framework of political and security principles for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but the Government of Sudan’s commitment to this agreement has wavered. Both parties need to agree immediately to a cessation of hostilities. The violence, the human rights abuses, and the deliberate obstruction of access for humanitarian agencies must end.
Given the ongoing hostilities and abuses in Southern Kordofan and the vulnerability of neighboring Blue Nile, we deeply regret the Government of Sudan’s decision to compel the United Nation’s departure from these two states. The United Nations should be allowed to maintain a presence in these areas to help distribute humanitarian aid, protect civilians, and implement any cessation of hostilities agreement.
Mr. President, the challenges are great, but they are by no means insurmountable. The Security Council has done its utmost to support this process, and this Council and my government will remain deeply engaged in supporting the Republic of South Sudan at this crucial juncture and into the future.
My own country’s history has taught us that it takes moral courage to attain freedom—and make freedom’s promise real for all citizens. We’ve learned that this work is never done. We have great faith in the people of South Sudan. We expect they will create a government that works for the good of all people and for the stability of the region – and thereby create a country that strengthens this community of sovereign nations. As I said in Juba on Saturday, “a nation born from conflict need not live in conflict.” In this spirit, and with great hope for the future of the world’s newest nation, the United States wholeheartedly supports South Sudan’s application for membership in the United Nations. Congratulations, and we look forward to welcoming you.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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