Special Envoy to Sudan Ambassador Princeton Lyman today stressed the need for North and South Sudan to get peace negotiations back on track that will help define the relationship between the parties as they look toward a future as neighboring independent states.
In his statement before the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, Mr. Lyman recalled how much hope and optimism the world had following the peaceful and successful Southern Sudan referendum and the acceptance of its results by the Government of Sudan.
“President Bashir recognized the results and vowed to be the first to recognize the South. In the months since, the relationship between the parties has deteriorated and they have returned to the brink of full-scale conflict.” -Mr. Lyman
Mr. Lyman stated that heavy fighting broke out in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan between the SAF and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) undermining the delicate process of political reform in this part of north Sudan as envisioned in the CPA.
He said the conflicts in Abyei and Southern Kordofan have brought misery to more than 100,000 Sudanese, forcing them from their homes and straining the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide them needed relief and support.
Mr. Lyman stressed that President Obama and his national security team have reached out to and mobilized leaders from around the world to urge the Government of Sudan to reverse its military actions.
He said the world leaders stood up and expressed their consternation at the Sudanese government’s behavior in recent weeks. He added that the UN Security Council has also taken a united stand in calling for the Government of Sudan to withdraw its forces from Abyei.
Mr. Lyman pointed out that the world leaders also continue to press for an end to military operations in Southern Kordofan and urge the GoS to undertake talks with local political leaders to determine post-CPA security and political arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
“The United States has told the Government of Sudan that we are prepared to take steps toward normalizing our bilateral relations if they follow through on their commitments.” -Mr. Lymann
Mr. Lyman said it is crucial that the North and South return to negotiating key arrangements that will help define the relationship between the parties as they look toward a future as neighboring independent states.
He noted the issues include the status of the oil sector, transitional financial arrangements such as oil revenue sharing, debt, citizenship, border issues, and security arrangements.
Mr. Lyman believed that it is still possible to get the peace negotiations back on track. He emphasized that the fundamental geographic, economic, and political realities between North and South have not changed – each of these independent nations will be better off if the other is stable, secure, and economically prosperous.
He said there remains an urgent need for the parties to go back to the negotiating table and reach and implement agreements that ensure a long-term peaceful and cooperative relationship between them.
Mr. Lyman stressed the need for both parties to build positive economic and political relations.
“I still believe this can be achieved, and the United States remains committed to assisting them in this effort.” -Mr. Lyman