Vice President Biden met today in Nairobi with a delegation from Southern Sudan, led by the President of Southern Sudan and First Vice President of the Government of National Unity, Salva Kiir Mayardit. In the meeting, the Vice President reaffirmed the strong U.S. commitment to seeing the referendum on Southern self-determination occur on time and in a manner that credibly reflects the will of the Southern Sudanese people. The Vice President recognized the many challenges faced in referendum preparations and underscored the need for Southern leadership and international mobilization in ensuring that all necessary measures are in place for a peaceful outcome that is internationally recognized, and offered U.S. political, financial, and technical support to that end.
The Vice President recognized the great strides that have been made in the South to establish state institutions and responsible governance since the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but emphasized that more needed to be done to increase the capacity, efficiency, and transparency of those institutions, irrespective of the outcome of the referendum.
The Vice President encouraged Southerners to immediately begin negotiations on post-referendum arrangements with Khartoum, noting that there is insufficient time before the South’s potential independence to wait before tackling the many complex and unresolved issues, including: border demarcation, revenue sharing, and citizenship rights.
The Vice President pledged continued U.S. assistance to the professionalization of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in recognition of the serious threats to security faced by the South.
The Vice President then met with the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia Ahmedou Ould Abdallah and a delegation that included the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Force Commander Nathan Mugisha, and Ugandan Minister of Defense Crispus Kiyonga to discuss the steps needed to help the Somali people achieve stability. He discussed the challenges facing AMISOM and the urgent need for greater political inclusivity and stability in the Transitional Federal Government. The Vice President also commended AMISOM for their peacekeeping efforts in Somalia and discussed steps to bolster its capacity.