Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson today stressed that Sudan and South Sudan must establish a stable and durable peace between their two states, and they must work to promote stability and development within their borders.
“Independence presents a new opportunity for the people of South Sudan, an opportunity to build a new nation that embodies their values and aspirations. It also presents an opportunity for the people of Sudan to redefine their relationship with the international community and pursue a more prosperous future.” -Mr. Carson
He underscored that the world wants to see the people of Sudan and South Sudan seize those opportunities and succeed.
“This will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but it is doable.” -Mr. Carson
He pointed out that the Sudanese have demonstrated their capacity over the last year to work together and overcome great odds. He added that the United States is committed to being a steadfast partner as they continue to work out their remaining differences and build the peace and stability that all Sudanese people desire.
“This past Saturday, I joined leaders from around the world in recognizing and celebrating South Sudan’s independence. It was one of the most moving occasions of my time as Assistant Secretary. It truly was a historic day for the people of South Sudan.” -Mr. Carson
He emphasized that challenges in the relationship between South Sudan and Sudan are formidable. He stated that South Sudan has achieved its independence, but it has not secured its future.
“First and foremost, Sudan and South Sudan must resolve outstanding issues between them. The recent fighting in Abyei and in the border state of Southern Kordofan has added additional complexities to the unresolved issues.” -Mr. Carson
He pointed out that both states must work to resolve these issues in the shortest possible timeframe. He stressed that allowing these issues to linger without resolution for too long could destabilize the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan and lead to tensions and potentially renewed conflict.
Mr. Carson noted that Abyei remains a crucial issue for resolution. He said the North’s takeover of Abyei brought widespread looting and caused the displacement of an estimated 100,000 people.
He said the Obama Administration strongly condemned Khartoum’s actions in Abyei and worked with President Mbeki and his team and the UN Security Council to persuade the parties to reach an agreement on new security arrangements for Abyei that would lead to the withdrawal of Sudanese troops and the protection of Abyei by a neutral force.
“In addition to Abyei, the parties have not sorted out how they will handle oil assets and other financial transition arrangements. Oil and the revenue it generates are indispensable to the prosperity and welfare of all Sudanese – both North and South.” -Mr. Carson
Mr. Carson said the negotiations on oil are of particular urgency.
He concluded that the United States has told the Sudanese Government that they are prepared to improve their bilateral relations if they continue down this path of peace. He said that the United States has presented them with a roadmap toward normalized relations and taken initial steps in that direction.
“The Obama Administration will work with both countries in the weeks and months ahead to realize this promise of a better future for the people in both the South and the North.” -Mr. Carson