Thank you, Mr. President.
Excellencies, Vice President Machar, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On Saturday, I had the privilege of standing in Juba and watching as the huge, beautiful flag of the Republic of South Sudan was raised for the very first time. The crowd roared, and in that wave of joy, you could hear a new nation claiming its voice.
Today, that same flag will fly proudly among 192 others. South Sudan will take its rightful place among the community of sovereign nations. On behalf of the United States, and the American people, as host country to this organization, I warmly welcome the Republic of South Sudan as the newest member of the United Nations.
This historic and hopeful day was reached only after great suffering and almost unimaginable loss. The independence of the world’s newest country is a testament to the people of South Sudan. It is also an inspiration to all who yearn for freedom. May the memory of your own struggle, for liberty, always serve as a reminder to insist on the universal rights of all people, to remember those still in shackles, to lift up the hungry and the desperate, and to bring hope to the broken places of the world.
Your statehood is new, but your friendship is not. The bonds between the American people and the people of South Sudan go back many decades. The United States will remain a steadfast friend as South Sudan works to pursue peace, to strengthen its democracy, and provide opportunity and prosperity to all its citizens. We look forward to working alongside South Sudan as it shoulders the rights and responsibilities of a full and sovereign member of the community of nations.
At the United Nations General Assembly last September, President Obama said, and I quote, “After the darkness of war, there can be a new day of peace and progress,” end quote. Today, like Saturday, is such a day for the people of South Sudan. We will support you as you work for an enduring peace rooted in coexistence between two viable states. We will stand by you as you forge the conditions for lasting democracy, prosperity, and justice. And we will partner with you as you seek to meet the high hopes of your citizens that have been raised along with your flag.
On behalf of the United States of America, let me say again: congratulations, and welcome. Thank you very much.