Republic of South Sudan will finally celebrate its independence on July 9 after a half century of war and more than 2 million people lost.
On Saturday, July 9th, the Republic of South Sudan will celebrate a ceremony to mark its independence, culminating a six-year peace process.
The U.S. presidential delegation to the ceremony will be led by Ambassador to the United Nations, the Honorable Susan Rice. The delegation will travel to Juba to attend this historic event today.
Ambassador Rice today said she was very honored to lead the delegation that will travel on behalf of the United States to Juba to welcome the new Republic of South Sudan into the community of sovereign nations.
Ms. Rice said a very strong and bipartisan American delegation will witness the ceremony.
“It reflects the President’s deep commitment to developments in Sudan and to supporting the new Republic of South Sudan. And we will be active, all of us, all members of this delegation, in our time in Juba, pushing forward on the issues that are so important and remain to be resolved.” -Ms. Rice
She stressed that the American delegation trip will focus on the celebration of the independence of the Republic of South Sudan.
“Our day will include, in addition to the ceremonies, a meeting with President Salva Kiir and a ribbon-cutting to officially transform the U.S. Consulate in Juba into the U.S. Embassy to the new Republic of South Sudan.” -Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice underscored that the independence celebration is a deeply significant event for the people of South Sudan for finally they will have the ability to determine their own future. She added that by any standard, it is a historic moment. She highlighted that it’s occurring as a result of a democratic exercise through a referendum that occurred peacefully and on time is itself all the more remarkable.
Century of War Ends
She said the United States has worked tirelessly to help make the promise of the moment a reality.
“First, it would not have been possible without the steadfast leadership and personal engagement of President Obama, who raised his voice consistently and eloquently as he did before what was a historic gathering at the United Nations last September, where he spoke in support, quote, “of a future where, after the darkness of a century of war, there can be a new day of peace and progress.” -Ms. Rice
Ms. Rice pointed out that their efforts have also been championed by Secretary of State Clinton and bolstered by the hard work of General Scott Gration, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, Ambassador Carson, and many others who have logged dozens of trips to the region and countless sleepless hours on the phone and around the negotiating table.
A referendum on independence for Southern Sudan was held in January 2011. A majority of the electorate opted for secession after a century of war. The President of Sudan Omar al-Bashir has accepted the results. President al-Bashir later issued a Republican Decree confirming the result of the referendum.
South Sudan’s independence from the rest of Sudan resulted from the referendum held in January this year, under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, known as the CPA.
In the next week, South Sudan is expected to be admitted into United Nations membership. If the UN Security Council recommends it, South Sudan will be the UN’s 193rd member state.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke after the General Assembly adopted the Security Council resolution to admit South Sudan, Africa’s newest country, to UN membership. The Secretary-General said, “At this moment … in this place … the world gathers to say in one voice: Welcome, South Sudan. Welcome to the community of nations.”
Mr. Ban attended the independence ceremony in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, last Saturday. He pledged assistance from the United Nations to help the newest country.
“Together, let us say to the citizens of our newest Member State: You now sit with us. We stand with you,” Ban Ki-moon said.