SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m very pleased to be here this afternoon to introduce Ambassador Princeton Lyman as our new special envoy for Sudan. I’m also delighted to welcome his wife, Lois, and to thank her for being a partner as she has been throughout your very distinguished career to the service that you render our country, Princeton.
Now, Ambassador Lyman is taking over the helm of our important work as the special envoy to Sudan from another very dedicated public servant, Scott Gration. And Scott has been instrumental to our work in Sudan over the last two years. We are absolutely delighted that the President has nominated him to be our next Ambassador to Kenya, and we will continue to rely on his passion and skills for the people of the region, and we thank you for your service.
This is a critical moment in Sudan’s history. Two months ago, in a peaceful display of democratic values, the people of Southern Sudan expressed their clear unequivocal choice. They want to live in a free, independent country, and now we look forward to a peaceful separation of these two states in July. The Government of Sudan played an important role by creating the conditions that allowed voters to express their will without fear, intimidation, or coercion. And since the vote, the government has continued to move this process forward with the same spirit of cooperation.
But as Princeton and I were just discussing with Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, who’s been our partner in this endeavor, there is still so much work to be done and so much in the way of challenges that lie ahead. One of the most important tasks is to end the conflict in Darfur and to alleviate, and hopefully end, the suffering of its people. I continue to call on all parties to come together immediately to reach a peaceful solution. To do this, all parties should join the peace process in Doha. The Liberation and Justice Movement, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Government of Sudan must engage in direct face-to-face negotiations and reach a settlement that includes a ceasefire.
Now is the time for meaningful dialogue that produces concrete results. The United States is committed to working with the international community to bring all parties together, to end the suffering and conflict, and forge a lasting peace that will contribute to the better days ahead for the people of both the North and the South.
We are also concerned about the dangerous standoff in the Abyei region of Sudan. We call on both sides to take immediate steps to prevent future attacks and restore calm. Violence is simply unacceptable. The deployment of forces by both sides is in violation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and undermines the goodwill from January’s referendum, which was a very important foundation for the peaceful future of Sudan. Before July’s deadline, as outlined by the CPA, both sides must reach an agreement on Abyei that meets the needs of all communities in the region and is consistent with the CPA’s Abyei protocol.
The United States is committed to the peace, security, and prosperity of both the North and the South, which is why the President has chosen Ambassador Lyman for this important job. His experience as U.S. Ambassador during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy will prove invaluable during the next few months. His diplomatic skills were on display during the mediation talks between the North and South, and he is well positioned to advise the Sudanese people at this critical juncture. With Princeton guiding our efforts, the United States will continue to support both sides as they work to fulfill the CPA and make the transition to independence. In this new role, Ambassador Lyman will help the Sudanese people make good on the work they’ve already accomplished.
Now, we understand the peaceful separation of these two states will be difficult, but we believe there is a clear path to a stronger, more stable, and peaceful future. I know that Princeton is really so committed to this, ready to go. He has the confidence of both President Obama and myself, he’s got a great team that will be backing him up and working with him, and we just want to thank you for taking on yet another challenge that is important not only to the people of Sudan, but to the United States as well.