Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon, everyone.
Today has been an unusually good day at the United Nations. We saw the General Assembly act by an overwhelming margin to credential the new Libyan government, its Transitional National Council, as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. We had the unanimous adoption of Resolution 2009, establishing a new United Nations presence in Libya and modifying the sanctions regime to allow resources to flow more easily as well as transparently to the Libyan authorities.
In addition, we adopted a 12-month extension of the mission of the United Nations in Liberia. Which the United States sponsored, and that, too, by a unanimous vote. So it has been a good day.
And, of course, we are looking forward to a busy week next week. As always, President Obama will be here. He will have a very full schedule over the course of his two and a half days here. He will arrive on Monday the 19th in the afternoon. He will have a very full day on Tuesday when he will participate in the Secretary-General’s high-level meeting on Libya, and we view this as a very important occasion. It corresponds to a recommendation that the President, himself, made in August, and we think it provides an opportunity for the international community to show that there is broad and united support for the people of Libya as they embark on this important transition.
He will also participate in a number of bilateral meetings, including with chairman Jalil of the TNC, and will also have the opportunity to co-chair, with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, a very important high-level meeting on open government partnership, and we’re looking very much forward to that.
On Wednesday, he will, of course, give the opening address at the General Assembly and continue his bilateral meetings. The President will participate in the Secretary-General’s lunch and will traditionally do as he always does and host a reception in the evening for heads of state and delegation.
The White House went through a more detailed briefing today of all the aspects of the President’s schedule, so I won’t bore you with that. But, obviously, we look forward to a very productive and important week. And I’m happy to take a few questions
Reporter: As you know, President Abbas said today that he was planning to bring the question of Palestinian membership of the UN to the Security Council. There’s a school of thinking among the Palestinians that it’s time to bring the two-state solution back to the UN because it started here. The U.S. kind of took it over after Madrid, but 20 years later the Palestinians are worse off, they have three times as many settlers, they don’t have a state and they are still under occupation, so they feel like the U.S. has been stalling on them for 20 years. And if they bring it back here, there will be a greater sense of urgency and more sympathy from the international community for seeing a two-state solution through to its fruition. How do you feel about that?
Ambassador Rice: Well, the U.S has not been stalling—we’ve been working very hard for many, many years, but, certainly, from the second day that President Obama took office, to try to accomplish a two-state solution. And that remains our interest and our objective and we are working very hard every day to accomplish that. And we’ll continue to do so during and after the General Assembly this year.
We are supportive and we want to see the creation of a Palestinian state. There is no question about that. And President Obama said so last year, again, here at the General Assembly. But the fact of the matter is, there’s only one way to accomplish that. And that is by the two parties sitting down at the negotiating table and deciding on the terms of that state and deciding on the issues that divide them.
The issues are borders, security, the capitol of a new state, refugees, water and all the very complex final status issues that can’t be decided by fiat and a piece of paper here in the United Nations, whether in the Security Council or the General Assembly.
They can only be decided by direct negotiations between the two parties and an agreement between the two parties. And that’s what we are working very, very hard to foster. That’s been our objective for many years, and certainly over the last two and a half years of the Obama Administration.
Reporter: Two-part question. We know Congress has threatened to cut off funding to the Palestinians if they did this and came to the Security Council [inaudible]. How will this affect the Administration’s relationship with the Palestinians? And also, former President Jimmy Carter was on Al Jazeera today, and he said that the fact that this happened just shows that the United States has lost all hope for the region. Not only for the Palestinians but for the Israelis. Do you have any evidence to the contrary?
Ambassador Rice: I think that the United States’ influence in the region remains very strong. We have important alliances and partnerships that we are nurturing, and they continue to bear fruit.
And we have seen, from Libya to Syria to all elements of the region that the United States is very much viewed as an important player and partner and will continue to be so. Now, with respect to the relationship with the Palestinians—first of all, let’s be clear. We heard President Abbas’s speech, we acknowledge what he said, but there are many questions about how this process will unfold in New York, and we certainly don’t want to prejudge that.
We continue to think that the best course would not be actions here in New York, but the best course would be for the parties to return swiftly and seriously to the negotiating table. I’m not going to speculate about the potential reactions in Congress. That is obviously something that will depend on what transpires and how the members of Congress, themselves, react. But for the United States, for the Administration, we certainly view as valuable our partnership with both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and we will continue to play our role in trying to bring the parties to a peaceful settlement.
Reporter: On Sudan, I wanted to ask you this. That beyond just the fighting and bombing in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, there was an agreement that was announced by the UN in Abyei that Khartoum and Juba would both pull out, even before the UNISFA mission was fully implemented. And now Khartoum has said that that’s not true—they didn’t agree to that, that the UN misspoke. I wanted to know what’s your understanding of when they committed to pull out. And, two, what—in President Obama’s bilateral, what’s the place of Sudan. I mean last year it was quite high profile on his visit. Does it remain that? Does he think that things are better there than they were last year? And what’s he going to be doing here while he’s here on Sudan?
Ambassador Rice: Well, with respect to the redeployment of forces from the Abyei area, the two sides signed an agreement and made a commitment to withdraw those forces, in fact, earlier in the process than we are today, and certainly long before the full deployment of UNISFA.
So we think that redeployment is overdue and needs to be accomplished urgently. And any suggestion that that wasn’t in fact the agreement is belied by the document that both parties signed. Obviously, the United States remains very interested in, very committed to peace and security in Sudan, both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan, and we’re frankly quite concerned that many of the critical issues that need to be resolved between North and South remain unresolved. Many of the crucial aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement remain unresolved and unimplemented and that, in and of itself, has the potential to be a spark that could ignite underlying tensions.
We’re also very, very concerned by what is transpiring in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, where aerial bombardments, attacks on civilians and humanitarian crisis is continuing and intensifying. So that also is of concern, and, of course, we remain very much focused on what is transpiring in Darfur.
So there’s no diminution in the U.S. government’s focus on, or commitment to what transpires in Sudan. And as was mentioned today at the White House, President Obama will have the opportunity to meet briefly with President Salva Kiir of South Sudan during the United Nations General Assembly.
Reporter: There was a statement yesterday that Syria…[Inaudible]…Is President Obama going to discuss the situation in Syria…[Inaudible]
Ambassador Rice: The United States shares the Secretary-General’s outrage at what is transpiring in Syria, and that is why we’ve consistently taken very strong action against the Syrian authorities. We’ve condemned the ridiculous and excessive violence against civilians that continues today throughout the country.
And we’ve imposed very significant sanctions, bilaterally, against the Assad government, the individuals in it and elements of the economy which fuel the regime, including the energy sector and the financial sector. Obviously, this is high on our agenda and it is already and will continue to be an important topic of conversation for United States officials when they interact with their counterparts.
Reporter: …A question…the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, fostered by the U.S., has been fruitless for more than 20 years now. And the Palestinians, they’re coming to the UN to resolve things at the UN and the U.S. is blocking, in fact, their way. What do you think…
Ambassador Rice: …They haven’t come here yet, so let’s not get ahead of it. But let me just say this. It is true that negotiations have not yet yielded the outcome we all seek and desire. But it is also equally true that there is no other way to accomplish the establishment of a Palestinian state. There’s no magic wand. There’s no magic piece of paper, here or anywhere else, that, in and of itself, can create that outcome. As a practical, factual matter.
In order to achieve the creation of a Palestinian state with clear boundaries, with sovereignty, with the ability to secure itself and provide for its people, there has to be a negotiated settlement and that is why we’re continuing to make every effort to bring that about.
That is why we think that it is short sighted and counter-productive to try a means of short-circuiting that, because at the end of the day, the only way to change conditions in the real world for the people of Palestine and to create two states, living side-by-side in peace and security, is at the negotiating table.
Reporter: Two quick questions logistically. Do you believe the Palestinians have the nine votes in the Security Council they need to make a U.S. veto irrelevant? And B, the Palestinians seem to want this to happen very quickly. Do you—how fast do you expect this to happen? Does the U.S. want to delay it?
Ambassador Rice: I really am not going to get into speculating about the various ways this could come, on what timelines, in what form or fashion. If we’ve learned anything as we have focused very closely on this process, it is, we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. So obviously we will wait and see.
I’m not going to predict today what exactly the vote count is, but I think there are more than one, and perhaps several members of the Security Council, who are skeptical about the timeliness of action in the Security Council.
Thank you very much.
The United States is deeply concerned about the fighting that broke out September 1 between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N) in Blue Nile State in Sudan, as well as the ongoing troop mobilization on both sides. We call on both parties to cease hostilities and for the SAF to end aerial bombings. We also call on both parties to protect civilians and engage in dialogue to prevent further escalation of violence.
These clashes in Blue Nile follow fighting that has been ongoing since June 5 between the SAF and SPLM/A-North in Southern Kordofan, about which we also remain deeply concerned. The United States continues to call on both sides to allow unfettered humanitarian access and human rights monitoring of affected populations in Southern Kordofan, as well as Blue Nile.
The spread of fighting into Blue Nile further highlights the urgent need for negotiations between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to reach a political settlement that brings peace and stability to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. In this regard we are particularly disappointed that there has been no follow through after the meeting between President Bashir and SPLM/N Chairman Malik Agar in Khartoum on August 21. We also reiterate the need for a peaceful relationship between Sudan and South Sudan and for resolution of outstanding issues between the two countries.
This week’s announcement by the Government of Sudan to establish a two-week unilateral ceasefire in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan state is a positive initial step toward bringing stability and relief to those affected by violence since early June. The United States strongly urges the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to show the same leadership and declare a two week ceasefire as well.
While we are encouraged by this announcement of a unilateral ceasefire and renewed discussions between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, the parties must immediately return to talks to agree to a full cessation of hostilities and a resolution of the political future of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. The Framework Agreement signed on June 28 in Addis Ababa is a strong foundation for these talks.
The Government of Sudan must allow immediate and full access to humanitarian organizations so that they can provide much needed relief to the people of Southern Kordofan. We strongly urge both sides to refrain from using a ceasefire to strengthen any military positions.
The United States supports the call by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for a full investigation of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan. Those responsible for attacks on civilians must be held accountable for their actions.
Statement by Ambassador Rice on the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Southern Kordofan
The United States welcomes the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the increasingly dire situation in Southern Kordofan. We are deeply disturbed by the reports of extrajudicial killings, attacks on civilians, mass graves, arbitrary detentions, abductions, house to house searches, forced displacements, and other clear violations of humanitarian law. We strongly support Commissioner Pillay’s recommendations, including immediate, unhindered access for humanitarian assistance and ongoing human rights monitoring as well as for an independent inquiry to hold perpetrators of violence to account. We urge all members of the UN Security Council to join us in pressing for implementation of these recommendations.
Chairman Kerry, Ranking Member Lugar, Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here to discuss the historic achievement symbolized by South Sudan’s independence and the opportunities and challenges ahead as Sudan and South Sudan seek to define their future relationship with each other and the international community.
I will discuss below the many tasks and challenges that lie ahead. But first we should recall that a fundamental objective of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was to provide the people of southern Sudan a choice whether to continue within one country or to separate. The people made that choice in January, voting for separation, and the independence of South Sudan was achieved July 9 without major conflict and with the recognition of the Government of Sudan. All those, in the Congress, among the many public organizations and advocates, the government entities and individuals over two administrations, all those who worked for this over many years should take pride and joy in this achievement.
I was in Juba last Saturday for South Sudan’s independence ceremony. It was a very moving occasion. As President Obama said in his statement recognizing South Sudan, the day reminded us “that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible.” Tens of thousands of people endured sweltering heat for hours to celebrate the birth of their new nation. Sudan was the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence. This was a historic achievement that represents a new beginning for the people of South Sudan as well as those of Sudan.
Mr. Chairman, this achievement was far from inevitable. Just a year ago, the peace process between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement was stalled. Many doubted whether it would be possible to have an on-time, peaceful referendum for Southern Sudan and whether the Government of Sudan would ever accept the results. A return to open conflict seemed very possible. During that time, President Obama committed to reenergizing the peace effort, and since then, we have intensified our diplomatic engagement with the CPA parties as well as our partners in the African Union, IGAD, Europe and the United Nations. The President himself, the Vice President and his entire national security team have been involved in this effort around the clock. We are grateful for the support that this committee and you in particular, Mr. Chairman, have given to this effort. We also appreciate the efforts that so many Americans have made to keep a spotlight on the situation in Sudan.
Over the last year, the leaders of Sudan and South Sudan have demonstrated their capacity to work together on the major task of separation and to overcome great odds in their search for peaceful completion of the CPA. Nevertheless, this period has also been marked by armed clashes along the border, a crisis in Abyei, and fighting currently under way in the northern state of Southern Kordofan. Several critical issues regarding relations between the two states that were to be negotiated by July 9 have not been resolved. Thus the situation remains fraught with serious threats to peace. The two states must work to rekindle the spirit of cooperation that was so evident after the referendum of January 9 and which was promised again by the two leaders in the ceremony of July 9.
The CPA parties have made some progress in their negotiations over the past few months, but as I indicated above some of the most important issues namely oil, Abyei and citizenship remain unresolved. How these outstanding issues are managed over the near term will define the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan. At the IGAD Summit on July 4, President Bashir and President Kiir committed to continue negotiations beyond July 9. We are urging the parties to quickly return to the negotiating table in the coming days and set a firm deadline for completing this unfinished business. The parties should work with the support of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to finalize mutually-beneficial arrangements, in particular, oil revenues, citizenship, Abyei, and their shared border. Allowing these issues to linger without resolution for too long could destabilize the future relationship between Sudan and South Sudan.
Of particular importance is the contentious issue of Abyei. After months of rising tensions and a buildup of forces by both sides, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) forcefully took over the disputed area of Abyei in May. An estimated 100,000 people were forced to flee their homes. After weeks of intense negotiations, the parties signed an agreement on June 20 outlining temporary arrangements for Abyei, to include the establishment of a new UN peacekeeping force in Abyei and the redeployment of all Sudanese military forces from the area. Secretary of State Clinton met with the parties in Addis Ababa during these talks and played an important role in finalizing this deal. We then led efforts in the UN Security Council to quickly secure a resolution authorizing this new peacekeeping force, which will consist of up to 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers.
The violence that flared in Abyei cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace. It is critical that the parties move forward with genuinely implementing this agreement over the coming weeks as they continue to work toward a final arrangement on Abyei. The Ethiopian peacekeepers have begun deploying to Abyei. The SAF and Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) must follow through with their commitment to withdraw their forces. Conditions must be put in place to allow those displaced from Abyei to voluntarily return home in safety and dignity as soon as possible. Enormous damage was done to homes and other structures in Abyei and much was looted during the SAF take-over. Considerable assistance will therefore be needed for those returning home. We are working closely with the Ethiopian peacekeeping force, the United Nations humanitarian agencies, and our own USAID to arrange support for a safe, voluntary return. At the same time, as part of their negotiations, the parties need to resolve Abyei’s final status. Negotiations on this matter were delayed by the SAF take-over of the area and the extensive negotiations for assuring the departure of military forces from there. This delay was costly. It will take weeks for the Ethiopian forces to be fully deployed and some time for the displaced to feel it safe to return.
Negotiations on the oil sector are equally important, but they must move on a quicker timetable. By the end of July, there has to be an understanding of how oil will be marketed and sold and to what extent the SPLM will provide some tapering off of reductions of income to the north. Agreement is made more difficult, however, because the SPLM does not want to make such a decision without final agreements on Abyei, the border, and perhaps some other issues. We are thus faced with conflicting timelines. In this situation, it is imperative that if there is no final resolution of oil revenue distribution, there must be an interim agreement by the end of July. Each side has claimed it is ready to shut down the oil flow if there is no agreement, positions that if acted upon would only hurt both sides and above all the people of all Sudan. Thus this issue demands action very soon.
Mr. Chairman, beyond their negotiations with each other, Sudan and South Sudan must also work to establish peace within their respective borders. Despite their separation, both countries have significant diversity and must decide how they will manage that diversity over the coming years. Most immediately, we remain deeply concerned about the situation in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, an area that is home to tens of thousands of SPLA fighters. The people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile were promised in the CPA that their political interests would be addressed in a process of popular consultations. Unfortunately, those consultations have not occurred in Southern Kordofan. Tensions increased in Southern Kordofan following the state’s heavily-contested elections in May. The SPLM refused to accept the results of the election in which the sitting Governor was declared the winner. It was in this atmosphere that the Government of Sudan issued an order to the SAF to dissolve the Joint Integrated Units and forcibly disarm SPLA units that remained in the state. On June 5, intense fighting broke out between the SAF and SPLA forces in the state. To date, the fighting has continued, with the SAF carrying out aerial bombardments of SPLA areas. We are extremely concerned by credible allegations of targeted and ethnic-based killings and other gross human rights abuses. These abuses must end, an investigation must be conducted, and perpetrators must be held accountable. The UN estimates that 73,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, and critical access and resupply routes for humanitarian agencies have been blocked.
Negotiations over Southern Kordofan began in Ethiopia in late June under the auspices of the AUHIP. The Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North signed a framework agreement on June 28 outlining new political and security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. This agreement has the advantage of calling for addressing political issues at the same time as security ones, which is indispensable for reaching an agreement to cease hostilities and lay the groundwork for a longer term settlement. Unfortunately, President Bashir has raised problems with the framework agreement, which puts negotiations at risk. We continue to call on the parties to return to the negotiating table, to recognize the need to address both political and security issues, and to agree on a cessation of hostilities which would allow unfettered humanitarian access. Despite the opposition of Khartoum, we also continue to call on the Government of Sudan to accept a continued UN presence in the two states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to support a cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access, and the establishment of new security arrangements. We believe, and we know that much of the international community agrees, that it is in their interest to do so. The Security Council has expressed its readiness to authorize continued UN operations if Khartoum consents.
Within Sudan, we also remain deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Clashes continue to occur in North and South Darfur between the Government of Sudan and an alliance of Darfur rebel groups, notably the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. The SAF continues to use aerial bombardments as well as proxy militias as part of its military strategy against the movements, thereby resulting in civilian casualties. Conflict and widespread insecurity impact the humanitarian situation negatively and hamper humanitarian organizations from carrying out their activities in the deep field. The GOS continues to obstruct access of UN-African Union peacekeepers and humanitarian organizations struggle to obtain visas and travel permits from the GoS, which undermine the effectiveness and independence of humanitarian efforts. We have consistently pressed the Government of Sudan to provide full and unfettered access for aid workers and peacekeepers, in order to deliver humanitarian assistance across Darfur. Our own humanitarian staff is only able to access Darfur with high level visits. Otherwise, operational access is simply not possible. Although there has been some limited IDP resettlement in West Darfur and a significant increase in seasonal IDP returns for cultivation, around 2 million Darfuris overall remain in IDP camps. Approximately 70,000 additional persons have been displaced since December 2010.
We have invested considerable efforts in pushing the Government of Sudan and the armed movements to commit to serious negotiations in Doha. Two of Darfur’s rebel groups, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) have participated in the Doha negotiations. The LJM may sign a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan this week; however LJM has little military strength on the ground. Negotiations between JEM and the Government of Sudan have been suspended since early May, and JEM is currently reconsidering its position on the results of the Doha process. We have emphasized to the Government of Sudan that an agreement with the LJM would be a positive step toward peace, but that it must continue to negotiate with the other armed movements. We also will be applying pressure on the non-negotiating armed movements to return to peace talks.
The position of the armed movements is also of concern. Several of them insist that they do not wish to negotiate on Darfur so much as on changes to the regime in Khartoum, and in some cases are determined to pursue that objective through fighting in and beyond Darfur. This position does not permit realistically peace talks with the Government of Sudan. We will also continue to encourage the non-negotiating armed movements to return to peace talks on Darfur. While the Doha process has now come to an end, other venues can be developed if talks are possible. In this regard, we are currently consulting with the AU, the UN and our international partners on a way forward after Doha that builds on progress achieved in Doha and leads to a more comprehensive settlement.
Any successful peace process must engage not only the armed movements, but also the people of Darfur. The UN and the AU have put forward the initiative of a Darfur Political Process, through which Darfuris would express their views on the way forward for a political settlement. However, we feel strongly that the current security and political environment would not lend itself to a credible or legitimate peace process in Darfur. For this reason, we will be coordinating with the AU and the UN on the necessary enabling conditions that we believe must be in place before the U.S. will support a Darfur-based process.
Mr. Chairman, Sudan needs to end its isolation in the international community and secure a more prosperous future for its people. It has a historic opportunity to do so with the completion of the CPA. Sudan faces an uncertain economic future as it adjusts to a significant loss of oil revenue and continues to shoulder nearly $38 billion of debt. Undoubtedly, Sudan is in need of debt relief, access to the resources of the International Financial Institutions, and a sustainable climate for private investment. Provided Sudan fulfills its obligations under the CPA, the United States is prepared to help.
We have laid out a roadmap to normalize our bilateral relations and taken initial steps in that direction. In February, following a successful referendum, the President began the process of reviewing Sudan’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Last month, the President dispatched Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan to Khartoum to discuss this review and to demonstrate our commitment to this process. Additionally, we have been actively involved in the World Bank technical working group to review the process for Sudan’s debt relief. We have also approved licenses for several American companies wishing to participate in agricultural development in the north.
However, we can only move forward with improved bilateral relations, as outlined in the roadmap, if the Government of Sudan fulfills its obligations under the CPA and demonstrates its commitment to peace within its borders and with its neighbors. A failure to reach a cessation of hostilities will negatively impact this process. U.S. government action to lift remaining U.S. economic sanctions and to request legislative assistance with the removal of applicable foreign assistance restrictions also will be dependent on Sudanese actions in Darfur. We will expect to see concrete actions on humanitarian access, freedom of movement for UNAMID peacekeepers, engagement in peace talks, an end to the use of proxy militias and targeting of civilians, and an improvement in justice and accountability so the reign of impunity in Darfur does not continue. This is not just the position of the United States. It is also the view of other members of the international community and international creditors.
Mr. Chairman, the Government of South Sudan will also depend on international support as it seeks to address its many challenges. South Sudan has some of the lowest development indicators in the world, and its people have high expectations that their lives will improve with independence. Many of its people also remain vulnerable to the activity of armed militias in the border states of Unity, Jonglei, and Upper Nile to the North, and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the state of Equatoria regions to the south. The United States has provided significant support for South Sudan over the years, and we will remain a steadfast partner as South Sudan seeks to peacefully meet these challenges. The strong ties between our peoples go back many decades, and we want to continue to build on that partnership.
Over 15 countries have offered capacity building assistance to the GOSS. Following the Troika development ministers’ visit in May, USAID is working closely with the AU, UN, ADB, EU, India, China, South Africa, Uganda and others to ensure that the ROSS has a viable human capital plan in place to build capacity for key functions in Juba and state governments. This builds upon the work USAID has done over the last 7 years in the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of South Sudan, health, education, and agriculture. USAID is working with partners to scale up to ensure that stop gap measure along with medium to long term capacities are being addressed. The United States, the UN, the UK, and other donors will focus on building a human rights culture throughout the GOSS, including the SPLA. All the donors will help in economic development. The United States plans in particular to make a major effort in agricultural production, which can help the vast majority of South Sudanese and for which there is much promise.
To succeed and to sustain international support, the Government of South Sudan must demonstrate its commitment to building an effective, democratic and inclusive government that embodies South Sudan’s diversity, respects human rights and delivers services with transparency and accountability. The eyes of the world will indeed be on South Sudan in the weeks and months ahead. The government must deliver on its commitment to a broad-based, inclusive process to write its permanent constitution. The government must also put in place safeguards to prevent corruption and avoid the pitfalls that have befallen many other oil-producing nations. President Kiir made a strong statement in his inaugural address on these very issues. The United States will work with other international partners to provide advice and support for the government to help him implement those pledges.
Mr. Chairman and other members of the committee, the challenges ahead are great, but the historic occasion last Saturday offers a new beginning for the people of South Sudan and Sudan. Now it is up to the leaders and people of South Sudan and Sudan to turn this moment of promise into lasting peace. We will continue to assist them in this hard work. Over the coming months, the Obama administration’s engagement will be unwavering, and we will be a steadfast partner to all those in Sudan and South Sudan who seek a better future of peace and prosperity.
I would like to thank Richard Solomon and the United States Institute for Peace for inviting me to speak today. It’s an honor to be here. My colleagues and I are avid readers of your reports and policy papers, and we greatly appreciate the regular opportunities to participate in the Institute’s many enriching seminars and conferences. You play a vital role in shaping the public’s interest in foreign policy and in keeping the international community focused on the most critical and important global issues. In Africa, the work the Institute has done on Sudan in recent years has complemented our efforts to support the negotiations, promote local conflict resolution, and bolster civil society. We hope you will continue your work on Sudan and South Sudan in the years ahead.
This afternoon I’d like to make some brief remarks about the opportunities and challenges facing the world’s newest nation, South Sudan. Today’s event comes at a critical time as we look ahead to the opportunities and challenges for Sudan and South Sudan. 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.
We want to see the people of Sudan and South Sudan seize those opportunities and succeed. But to do that, they must establish a stable and durable peace between their two states, and they must work to promote stability and development within their borders. This will not be easy and it will not happen overnight, but it is doable. The Sudanese have demonstrated their capacity over the last year to work together and overcome great odds. 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. In Juba, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese endured sweltering heat for hours to celebrate the birth of their new nation. The Government of South Sudan organized a day of pageantry and substance. The proclamation of independence was read. President Salva Kiir took the oath of office and unveiled a statue of John Garang. President Kiir spoke eloquently of the sacrifices endured by millions of Sudanese and the challenges South Sudan faces as the newest and one of the poorest states in the world. Sudanese President Bashir was in attendance and congratulated his hosts, and Sudan followed through on its pledge to be the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence.
It truly was a historic day for the people of South Sudan.
Just a year ago, last Saturday’s celebration appeared impossible. The peace process between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement had stalled. A return to open conflict seemed possible. Many analysts warned the Southern Sudan referendum was at high risk of delay or would be mired in bitter controversy. Little if any preparation was underway, and many observers doubted northern leaders would allow the referendum to proceed or would accept its results.
Recognizing that the CPA and the Southern Referendum were in serious peril, President Obama committed last year to reenergize the peace effort to make sure that the North and South Sudan did not return to a state of conflict. We intensified our diplomatic engagement with the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), as well as our partners in the African Union, IGAD, the United Nations, the EU, and others. The President, the Vice President and the entire national security team were involved in this effort around the clock. The U.S. Special Envoys for Sudan, first Ambassador Scott Gration and then Ambassador Princeton Lyman, shuttled back and forth to the region, working with the parties to move the process forward. A number of Americans – acting individually and through civil society groups – also deserve a vote of thanks for keeping a spotlight on the situation in Sudan.
Against the odds, the people of Sudan and their leaders came together and organized an on-time referendum in January that was peaceful, credibly and reflected the will of the people. And despite moments of tension and crisis, they have worked together over the past months to enable a peaceful separation. For those of you that have followed Sudan’s history over the years, you know the significance of this achievement. But you also know that the situation remains fragile. Serious threats to peace and security remain, and great challenges lie ahead. The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan must continue to foster a spirit of cooperation as they work to resolve these threats and challenges. This is essential. Because even though they are now two separate countries, their peoples share historic, geographic, and economic ties. And they share common interests. The fate of Sudan and South Sudan are intertwined.
Challenges in the Relationship between South Sudan and Sudan
The challenges are formidable. 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. Over recent months, with the support of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, the CPA parties have made progress in their negotiations. However, they failed to reach final resolution on several key issues before July 9. The recent fighting in Abyei and in the border state of Southern Kordofan has added additional complexities to the unresolved issues. President Bashir and President Kiir committed at the IGAD Summit on July 4 that they would continue negotiations on the outstanding issues after July 9. They must now turn those commitments into action. Both the parties must return to the negotiating table. They must work to resolve these issues in the shortest possible timeframe. 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.
Abyei: Abyei remains a crucial issue for resolution. On May 20 the Sudanese Armed Forces invaded and occupied Abyei, following an unprovoked attack by the Sudan People’s Liberation Army on a UN convoy escorting Sudanese armed forces. The North’s takeover of Abyei brought widespread looting and caused the displacement of an estimated 100,000 people.
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. The parties agreed that a new UN peacekeeping force, consisting of roughly 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers, would be established to maintain security in Abyei, and that all Sudanese military forces would redeploy from the area. It is critical that the parties fully implement this agreement. The violence that flared in Abyei cannot be allowed to return and jeopardize the larger peace. The parties must work with the AU Panel to reach agreement on the area’s future and final status. They also need to resolve the status of five other disputed areas along the border.
Oil: 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. Negotiations on oil are of particular urgency. By the end of July, there must be an understanding on how oil in the South will be marketed and sold and to what extent payments will be made to the North. The parties must reach an interim agreement to keep the oil flowing. We have strongly encouraged both parties to refrain from any unilateral actions that could destabilize the oil sector and cause severe economic shocks.
Citizenship: Another crucial issue is citizenship. There continue to be hundreds of thousands of southerners living and working in the North, and a smaller but significant number of northerners in the South. The parties have agreed to work to ensure that no one is left stateless, and they have agreed in principle on a nine-month transition period in which people can adjust their citizenship status. It is critical that both states follow through on this commitment. We have also called on Sudan and South Sudan to guarantee the rights of work, property, residency, and movement for all former and current Sudanese citizens. We continue to discourage any action that might cause people suddenly to become aliens in areas where they have resided and raised their families for decades.
Internal Challenges and Opportunities for South Sudan
Beyond resolving the outstanding issues of its separation from the North, South Sudan also must address its own internal challenges as a newly independent state. The continued activity of armed militia groups and the proliferation of weapons pose an ongoing security threat. South Sudan needs to make substantially more progress on security sector reform and the demobilization and social reintegration of former fighters over the next year. The United States and South Sudan’s other international partners are actively supporting these efforts.
Without question, South Sudan has some of the worst human development indicators in the world. Much of the country has little transportation infrastructure, no formal educational system, limited health services, and no judicial system. There is very little industry or economic infrastructure outside of Juba.
To build a new nation, South Sudan will need coherent and realistic development plans that build local capacity so that the South Sudanese people can, over the long term, do the building themselves rather than become dependent on outsiders and the donor community. USAID along with South Sudan’s other international development partners have been providing technical expertise aimed at increasing the capacity of the new South Sudanese Government. We have worked closely with the Government of South Sudan from the local to the national levels and will continue to do so.
Transparent and democratic processes need to be put into place so that the Southern Sudanese people can hold their government accountable and have adequate input into decision-making. This is also critical if the Government of South Sudan is to sustain international support. The eyes of the world will indeed be on South Sudan in the weeks and months ahead. It must demonstrate its commitment to avoiding the pitfalls that have befallen many other oil-producing nations. President Kiir said the right things in his inauguration speech, and now his Government must deliver. The United States is committed to helping his Government do so.
Internal Challenges and Opportunities for Sudan
Sudan too must address its own internal problems in the months and years ahead. First and foremost, the Government of Sudan must bring an end to the ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Darfur.
Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile: At the same time that crisis was unfolding in Abyei, fighting broke out in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan, an area that is home to tens of thousands of SPLA fighters. Some 73,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, which continues. Humanitarian access has been severely restricted, and UN peacekeepers have been harassed and blocked from patrolling. On June 28, with the help of the African Union Panel, the parties signed a framework agreement on political and security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but they have not agreed on a cessation of hostilities. And unfortunately, President Bashir has since raised problems with the framework agreement, which puts negotiations at risk. We are continuing to press the parties to bring an end to the fighting, allow unfettered access to humanitarian agencies and to accept a continued UN presence.
Darfur: The Government of Sudan must also finally bring an end to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. A just, inclusive and durable settlement in Darfur is critical for a viable and prosperous Sudan in the future. To achieve such a settlement, the Sudanese Government should find ways to improve the economic situation of the Darfuri people while addressing their political concerns. The government must also seek to bring an end to the culture of impunity that has taken hold in Darfur.
One of Darfur’s rebel groups, the Liberation and Justice Movement may sign a peace agreement with the Government of Sudan this week; however one other major group is still on the fence while other rebel movements have refused to take part in the Doha process. We have emphasized to the Government of Sudan that this agreement would be a positive step toward peace, but that it must continue to negotiate with the other armed movements.
The armed rebel movements in Darfur have contributed to the continuation of this conflict and they must take responsibility for working toward its end. During the days ahead, these groups must choose peace over war and recognize that long-term stability and recovery cannot be gained through additional conflict. We believe the non-negotiating movements must return to the peace talks and seek to conclude an agreement with the Sudanese Government.
Economic situation: In addition to resolving the conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Darfur, the Government of Sudan faces considerable economic challenges. With the loss of oil revenues from the south and a crippling debt estimated at $38 billion, the Government of Sudan needs debt relief, access to the International Financial Institutions and a new infusion of foreign investment. It also needs to revitalize its once promising agriculture sector.
The Government of Sudan showed an encouraging commitment to peace in signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, allowing the referendum to take place, and being the first nation in the world to recognize the independence of the South.
The United States has told the Sudanese Government that we are prepared to improve our bilateral relations if they continue down this path of peace. We have presented them with a roadmap toward normalized relations and taken initial steps in that direction. In February, the President initiated the process of reviewing Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, and in June the President’s Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan traveled to Khartoum to discuss this review and to demonstrate our commitment to this process. We have also approved licenses for several American companies wishing to participate in agricultural development in Sudan.
The United States has told the Government of Sudan that we are prepared to help with the country’s challenges, and we have already taken initial steps to that end. However, in line with our roadmap, we can only implement this support if Sudan lives up to its CPA obligations and demonstrates its commitment to peace within its borders. This is not just the position of the United States; it is also the position of many other members of the international community and key international creditors.
The Government of Sudan now has a historic opportunity to end its isolation and redefine its relationship with the international community. We hope that Khartoum will seize this opportunity to secure a more prosperous future for its people.
Opportunities for a Shared Future of Partnership
The challenges ahead are daunting, and a great deal of hard work remains to be done. But in closing, I recall the scene I witnessed in Juba on Saturday. The spirit of hope that permeated the air can be built upon for a better future.
As President Obama noted in his statement, South Sudan’s successful independence is “a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people.”
Indeed, the light of a new dawn is possible. The people of Sudan and South Sudan have a historic opportunity today to chart a new future based on partnership, cooperation and shared prosperity. We are committed to working with Sudan and South Sudan toward the goal of two viable states at peace with another. The two nations cannot prosper unless the other is stable and economically viable. While they may be two nations, their fates are linked together by their shared history, people, and economics.
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.
The United States is deeply concerned about alarming and credible allegations of violence committed by Sudan Armed Forces and aligned groups in Southern Kordofan. These include acts of extreme cruelty and abuse against civilians that, if true, may constitute crimes against humanity – extra-judicial killings, house-to-house searches, abductions, arbitrary arrests, and violence motivated by differences of religion or ethnicity.
The United States strongly supports an investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights into these allegations and calls on all parties to provide unfettered access and cooperation to any investigation. We condemn in the strongest terms any deliberate targeting of civilians, including UN humanitarian personnel. The United States will not tolerate impunity for such acts of violence. We have called repeatedly for a cessation of hostilities in South Kordorfan, and we have called on the Government of Sudan to stop aerial bombardments, which continue to hit civilians. We are particularly disturbed by the decision of the Government of Sudan not to honor the June 29 agreement on political and security arrangements in the region. These developments are deeply regrettable.
It is past time for an end to the violence. Today, we call upon the Government of Sudan to agree to a robust UN presence in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile that will assist the parties as they agree to future political and security agreements.
Thank you, Mr. President.
Last Saturday, I had the honor of heading the U.S. delegation to Juba to celebrate South Sudan’s independence. It was a deeply moving day. After a half-century of war, at a cost of more than two million lives, the Republic of South Sudan can now finally determine its own future. The United States salutes the courage and sacrifice of the people of South Sudan, who never abandoned hope. After so many years of bitter conflict, South Sudan’s independence occurred peacefully and democratically through referendum—a heartening way for the world’s newest nation to be born.
Vice President Machar, welcome and congratulations to the people of the Republic of South Sudan. We are delighted that you are here to represent your new government at this meeting where the Security Council unanimously recommended that your country be admitted as the United Nation’s 193rd member state.
Ambassador Osman, we also commend the Government of Sudan’s decision to be the first country to recognize South Sudan’s independence. We welcome all efforts to forge a relationship between Sudan and South Sudan that is rooted in mutual respect and cooperation—a relationship that strengthens the viability, security, and prosperity of both states. By continuing on the path of peace, the Government of Sudan can redefine its relationship with the international community and secure a brighter future for its people.
Mr. President, the Security Council remains fully engaged in helping both countries towards their shared goals of peace and stability. On July 8, this Council unanimously authorized a new UN peacekeeping mission in the Republic of South Sudan. UNMISS will assist the government as it builds a new nation, including on issues of peacebuilding, development, security, and protection.
But as we all know, this moment of promise is also fragile and fraught. Sudan and South Sudan must work hard to secure an enduring peace and two viable states coexisting as peaceful neighbors. It is vital that both countries work with the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel to swiftly resolve all outstanding issues. The parties need to finalize arrangements on the border, citizenship, oil, and other issues if they are to forge an enduring peace.
A permanent resolution of Abyei’s status remains elusive. Despite an agreement on temporary security arrangements and the imminent deployment of a UN interim security force, the situation in Abyei is still extremely volatile. An estimated 100,000 people remain displaced from their homes.
Meanwhile, brutal fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the troops of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North has displaced more than 70,000 people in Southern Kordofan. The Sudanese army is continuing and intensifying aerial bombardments that are killing civilians. On June 28, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-North agreed to a framework of political and security principles for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but the Government of Sudan’s commitment to this agreement has wavered. Both parties need to agree immediately to a cessation of hostilities. The violence, the human rights abuses, and the deliberate obstruction of access for humanitarian agencies must end.
Given the ongoing hostilities and abuses in Southern Kordofan and the vulnerability of neighboring Blue Nile, we deeply regret the Government of Sudan’s decision to compel the United Nation’s departure from these two states. The United Nations should be allowed to maintain a presence in these areas to help distribute humanitarian aid, protect civilians, and implement any cessation of hostilities agreement.
Mr. President, the challenges are great, but they are by no means insurmountable. The Security Council has done its utmost to support this process, and this Council and my government will remain deeply engaged in supporting the Republic of South Sudan at this crucial juncture and into the future.
My own country’s history has taught us that it takes moral courage to attain freedom—and make freedom’s promise real for all citizens. We’ve learned that this work is never done. We have great faith in the people of South Sudan. We expect they will create a government that works for the good of all people and for the stability of the region – and thereby create a country that strengthens this community of sovereign nations. As I said in Juba on Saturday, “a nation born from conflict need not live in conflict.” In this spirit, and with great hope for the future of the world’s newest nation, the United States wholeheartedly supports South Sudan’s application for membership in the United Nations. Congratulations, and we look forward to welcoming you.
Thank you, Mr. President.
The United States deeply regrets the necessity to vote on this resolution to end the UNMIS mandate. We call on the Government of Sudan yet again to reconsider its demand that UNMIS cease its activities in the Republic of Sudan effective July 9. The mission has a critical role to continue to play in regional stability, especially in the Two Areas.
The United States is sending a clear message along with other Council members that it wants the United Nations to remain in the Two Areas, especially at this critical juncture. With this resolution, the Council has made clear that it is ready to authorize continued UN operations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to support new security arrangements, and we will continue over the coming weeks to urge the Government of Sudan to accept this. It is in their interest to do so. We hope others in the international community will continue to encourage Khartoum to accept this.
It is critical that the Government of Sudan cooperate fully with UNMIS as it begins the process of withdrawing.
We continue to be deeply concerned about the fighting in Southern Kordofan, the displacement of civilians, and the ensuing humanitarian crisis. The Government of Sudan and SPLM-North must return to the negotiating table in the coming days and agree to an immediate cessation of hostilities. We call on the Government of Sudan as well to work actively on agreements to bring peace and stability to the border, and in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states. Thank you Mr. President.
MS. NULAND: Good morning, everybody. As you know, this 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 our Ambassador to the United Nations, the Honorable Susan Rice. And the delegation will travel to Juba to attend this historic event today. We are very pleased this morning to have Ambassador Rice as well as several members of the delegation to talk to you about this trip. We also have Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson and Deputy Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development Don Steinberg.
Welcome, Ambassador Rice.
AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you. Good morning, everybody. I’m 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.
As you know, the delegation will also include Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Brooke Anderson, the Deputy National Security Advisor and Chief of Staff and Counselor at the National Security Staff; General Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command; Deputy Administrator of USAID Don Steinberg; Congressman Donald Payne of New Jersey, who is the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, and formerly chairman of that subcommittee; Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who of course is our Special Envoy of the President to Sudan; Barrie Walkley, who is the U.S. Consul General in Juba; and Mr. Ken Hackett, who is president of Catholic Relief Services, an NGO that’s been very active for many years throughout Sudan.
I’m particularly honored, in addition, that we’ll be joined on the delegation by General Colin Powell, who as you all know, along with one of my predecessors, John Danforth, worked so hard to lay the groundwork for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. And obviously, General Powell did that while he served as Secretary of State.
So as you can see, this is a very strong and bipartisan American delegation. 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.
Let me just say a few more words about what we’ll be doing, why it’s important, and what message we’ll be bringing on behalf of President Obama. Our trip will, of course, 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.
As you know, this independence celebration is a deeply significant event for the people of South Sudan, who, after a half century of war and more than 2 million people lost, finally will have the ability to determine their own future. By any standard, this is a historic moment, and the fact 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.
The United States has worked tirelessly to help make the promise of this 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 war, there can be a new day of peace and progress.”
Our 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. Thanks to these efforts and the hard work of many others in the international community and at the United Nations, the moment is approaching when a future of peace is finally possible.
But let’s be absolutely clear: This is a fragile and fraught moment as well. It cannot and must not be taken for granted, least of all by the Government of Sudan and the Government of the Republic of South Sudan, who will have to still work exceptionally hard to achieve an enduring peace and enable the emergence of two viable states that are peaceful neighbors.
A number of core issues remain to be resolved. A permanent resolution of Abyei’s status is still elusive. And the situation there, in spite of an agreement on temporary security arrangements signed on June 20th and the imminent deployment of a UN interim security force for Abyei, is still extremely volatile. An estimated 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Abyei.
And meanwhile, of course, we’ve seen brutal fighting in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan between Sudanese armed forces and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army North troops who come from that state. And the Sudanese army continues to carry out aerial bombardments that are hitting civilians. And on June 28th, the government and the SPLM North agreed to a framework of political and security principles for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, but they haven’t agreed yet to any cessation of hostilities.
The United States clearly has condemned the escalating violence, especially by the Government of Sudan against civilians, and the detention and targeting of UN national staff and the deliberate obstruction of access for humanitarian agencies. In light of this situation, the United States is extremely concerned by the government’s decision to compel the departure of the UN mission in Sudan from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states and elsewhere in the North on July 9th. It’s vital that the United Nations be allowed to maintain a full peacekeeping presence in these areas for an additional period of time in order to facilitate the distribution of humanitarian aid, support the implementation of any cessation of hostilities agreement, and vitally, to protect civilians.
Furthermore, we’re concerned that the parties haven’t finalized arrangements on major outstanding CPA issues, including the border, citizenship, and oil. We believe the parties need to urgently resolve these remaining issues. In the meantime, it’s critical that the parties cooperate on such key issues as oil and citizenship in order to avoid major economic shocks or social upheaval. Allowing these issues, including the final status of Abyei, to linger without resolution for any length of time could swiftly destabilize the future relationship between these two states. So for our part, the United States will continue to be extremely active in supporting the implementation of the CPA in all of its stages, as we have since its inception, and particularly over the last 12 months. And we will continue to deliver the same consistent message on behalf of President Obama.
Saturday’s celebration is above all a testament to the people of South Sudan and secondly to the parties to the CPA. But as we’ve made very clear, the success of the CPA and the resolution of the larger issues in Sudan, including in particular Darfur, will remain a strong and consistent focus of the United States. As we mark progress for the Republic of South Sudan and an important new chapter in the history of what has been a very troubled region, the United States will remain resolute and clear-eyed about the road ahead.
Thank you, and I would now hand it over to Ambassador Carson.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: Ambassador Rice, thank you very, very much, and I am very pleased and honored to be joining you on this presidential delegation to South Sudan. July 9 marks the technical conclusion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, an accord that ended over two decades of conflict and suffering in Southern Sudan. The people of South Sudan can now look forward with great hope and expectations to the future, despite the enormous challenges that still must be addressed to secure the peace and to preclude another outbreak of conflict.
The United States remains deeply committed to helping South Sudan achieve its political and development goals, as well as working constructively with the government of Khartoum to improve and normalize our relations. To realize their dreams of peace and stability, we believe the leaders of both South and North will need to collaborate intensely and sincerely to achieve these goals. This means a reinvigoration of their efforts to ensure that their separation is characterized by dignity and mutual respect and in a manner that strengthens the continued viability, security, and economic prosperity of each of the two states.
The governments of North and South Sudan still need to reach agreement on critical issues from the CPA that have not yet been resolved. These are, among others, oil and transitional financial arrangements, citizenship and citizens’ rights, the resolution of the five areas along the North-South border, and the future status of Abyei. We also expect Sudanese leaders to implement fully their June 20 agreement on Abyei, which includes a full withdrawal of Sudanese armed forces from that territory.
We also expect the North to fulfill its obligations to hold and conclude in a timely manner meaningful popular consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. It will be critical for the parties to work together to resolve the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis that now exists in Southern Kordofan. The current situation is deeply troubling. We call on the parties to reach agreement on and immediately implement a cessation of hostilities and allow for aid workers to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians affected by this conflict.
After years of fighting, the people of South Sudan have earned their right to peace. Their children deserve a more promising future that leaves the conflict of generations of the past behind. We hope that their leaders will seize this unique opportunity to establish a durable and self-sustaining peace that will provide a solid foundation for two viable states sharing a prosperous and stable future in which their people can realize their long-delayed hopes and aspirations.
The United States, acting in concert with the United Nations, the African Union, and the European Union and other international partners, will continue to play its part in assisting the new state of South Sudan to strengthen its sovereignty, build its capacity for enlightened governance, and contribute to its economic development. This will be a challenge for all of us. The United States stands ready to work with the people of South Sudan to meet that challenge. Thank you.
I’d now ask Ambassador Steinberg.
AMBASSADOR STEINBERG: We have a real challenge ahead of us in supporting the process of a new state in Africa, and the United States has had a long history of supporting South Sudan both before the completion of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and subsequently. At the explicit instructions of President Obama, we have worked to provide the people and the Government of South Sudan with the tools that they need to build a nation. And we often shy away from the phrase “nation building,” but in this case it is particularly appropriate.
Ambassador Carson spoke of the expectations of the Sudanese people, and indeed they have high expectations for what peace will mean for them. And already over the course of the last few years, we have worked with the Government of South Sudan to move themselves from a concept into a viable, functioning government. We’ve helped provide a million people with access to water. We’ve helped expand from school enrollment rates of about one in five to now 68 percent. We have financed the construction of roads, bridges, electrical power stations. And perhaps equally significant, we supported the January 2011 referendum on self-determination, which was overwhelmingly in support of independence.
In this effort, we’re working in partnership with a variety of agencies, the World Bank, our Troika partners, the United Kingdom and Norway on developmental and humanitarian assistance. And in that regard, we are prepared to host in September an international conference that will draw together the international community with the Government of South Sudan as a platform to demonstrate their vision and their future for their country and to engage with the international community. That will be held here in Washington towards the end of September.
In line with that effort, we have identified four key pillars for USAID and the whole of government to engage in, and these pillars are the following: to create an enabling environment for the promotion of private investment in South Sudan; to strengthen the agricultural sector to become a true engine of growth for South Sudan; to develop a common platform in institutional structure for the international community to engage in this new country; and to build the human capital necessary to govern and deliver services.
And it’s important to remember that this is a facilitative role, largely, that we’re performing. South Sudan has ample resources from its petroleum reserves and other assets to provide the basic needs for its development. However, in order to make sure that occurs they need the governmental capacity to ensure that resources are well used, that corruption doesn’t take place, and that bottlenecks and other impediments to development don’t occur.
I need to highlight as well that we’re responding to large humanitarian needs throughout South Sudan, and in particular now in Southern Kordofan, in Abyei, where we’re seeing probably a total of about 200,000 people displaced by recent fighting. Many of those are traveling to the South, and we are working with the Government of South Sudan to provide resources to them. I myself was in South Sudan about six weeks ago and met with a variety of Northerners who had come south and who were looking for a new life in the South but had very high expectations for what that life would provide to them. We’re concerned about their safety. We’re concerned about the citizenship questions in the North, which need to be resolved, otherwise we may see a massive flood of new IDPs coming South. And as Ambassador Rice said, we continue to press for humanitarian access to assist those in need in places where access is restricted, especially South Kordofan, the Nuba Mountains, and Darfur.
So we’re very excited about the future. As of July 9th we will have a full USAID mission in Juba along with a mission in Khartoum. And we are delighted to be pursuing the vision of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to help this country emerge as a prosperous and free country.
MS. NULAND: (Off-mike.)
QUESTION: Ambassador Rice – and maybe, Ambassador Carson you can weigh in – I have a wider question that maybe we can go a bit narrow as well – about your support for this referendum and for the independence of Southern Sudan has been very public and very emphatic. And I’m wondering whether you think – where this leaves the relationship with the North? And whether the people – whether you feel there’s – the North now feels any kind of stigma because of your strong support for Southern Sudan? Even in some of the comments, I mean, that – I think the Northerners feel that – and just from some people we’ve talked to, the Northerners feel now that you’ve chosen kind of Southern Sudan over the North. And the relationship with the government now, how do you – now that they feel that they’ve fulfilled their commitments on Southern Sudan, how do you, as you say, get them to continue to fulfill their commitments on Darfur, on some of these other things while managing their expectations on things like the terrorism list and such?
AMBASSADOR RICE: Well first of all, what we have favored is faithful implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which the two parties signed of their own volition, presumably because they determined it to be in their own – each of them in their own interest. So there’s no choosing of sides in that regard. And clearly, with the referendum having been held and the people of South Sudan stating their preferences clearly and overwhelmingly, we and others in the international community – indeed the entirety of the international community, every member state on the Security Council, every member state in the United Nations is committed to supporting and welcoming the Republic of South Sudan into the community of nations.
That said, obviously we have a vital interest in the success of peaceful and mutually beneficial relations between the government of the South and the government of the North. We want very much, as I think you’ve heard many of my colleagues say and Ambassador Carson just reiterated, to be in a position to build a more normal and more constructive relationship with the government in Khartoum. But for that to occur, as we have discussed on numerous occasions directly with them, we need to see full and final implementation of all aspects of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and clearly there are some important elements that remain unresolved.
We have also, from the very beginning, been very plain about the United States’ deep concern about what is transpiring in Darfur and now more recently in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Our interest, however, is seeing those issues resolved, the conflict end, political processes put in place that would meet the aspirations of the people of those regions within the country of Sudan, and that’s what we’ll work to continue to do.
We have many facets now to our relationship with the government in Khartoum. There is great potential for that relationship to deepen, but that depends on progress, as I’ve described, and progress in the roadmap that we have discussed over the course of the last many months with the government.
QUESTION: But they’re expecting – just a quick follow-up – they’re expecting now that they’ve signed this agreement, the South Sudan is an independent country, “It’s time for you to take us off the terrorism list.”
AMBASSADOR RICE: Well, in fact, the government in Khartoum knows exactly what to expect because they have heard it very precisely and directly from Ambassador Lyman and from many other senior American officials. There should be no confusion or ambiguity about expectations. We have been as plain as it’s possible to be in black and white, and we are fulfilling our side of the bargain. And as the government fulfills its commitments, as we hope it will under the CPA, we will be in a position to make the progress that we hope to make.
Johnnie, do you want to add anything to that?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: Just – thank you. Just one brief comment, and that is to say that the long-term political and economic success of the South is dependent upon having a strong, politically stable, and economically viable partner in the North. And the long-term viability of Khartoum’s government is dependent upon having a politically stable and economically prosperous partner in the South. Both of these countries will, in fact, remain very, very dependent upon one another for a long period of time. It is in their mutual interest, it is in our mutual interest to see two stable, viable, and strong economic states next to one another, and we hope that that message also gets out.
QUESTION: A question for whoever can answer it: The Southern Sudanese have said that the biggest and best present that the United States could give them on their birthday would be lifting the sanctions, and that if they don’t do that, that their oil-based economy just simply won’t be viable. So my question is: Are you – is the United States prepared to either split off South Sudan from existing sanctions on the whole of Sudan or lift sanctions on all of them as part of your efforts to get them kind of up and running?
And a second question is: What prospects are there for extending UNMIS given that, as far as I understand, its mandate sort of ends on July 9th under the CPA? How can you get them to keep them on?
AMBASSADOR RICE: I will take the second one. Do you want to –
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: I’ll go check.
AMBASSADOR RICE: The sanctions that have been in place on Sudan – there are different sorts and different types going back to 1993. They would not bear on and be a legacy that will be the responsibility of the Republic of South Sudan. So there are technical aspects to that, but the intent of the sanctions would not be consistent with that.
QUESTION: So that’s not – just so I’m clear on that – that they will no longer be subject to those sanctions as they emerge as a new country?
AMBASSADOR RICE: I mean, there are technical steps that would need to be taken to accomplish that, but the sanctions were imposed for the behavior of a government that is not the Government of the Republic of South Sudan. So we will make accommodation for that reality.
With respect to the United Nations presence, there are multiple aspects to this. In the first instance, we – the United Nations Security Council expects to adopt a resolution as early as Friday, which will establish a new UN mission for the Republic of South Sudan. It is a mission that will have various aspects to it, from security support to protection of civilians to support for building the institutions of the state. And a substantial share of the current UN presence or force in Sudan will shift over and become part of this new mission for the South. And there will ultimately be some troops that leave, some that come in, a different-sized civilian component, et cetera.
In the North, the portion that is above the 1156 border, which includes Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile but not limited to it, there are also currently several thousand UN forces under the current mission UNMIS. The government, very regrettably – and as I mentioned in my comments, to our grave concern – has indicated that it will insist that the UN terminate its mission in the North, effective on the 9th. The United States has been using all of our diplomatic and other instruments, as have the other permanent member of the Security Council and I think indeed many members of the Security Council, to try to persuade the leadership in Khartoum that it is not in their interest that the UN be compelled to leave abruptly or prematurely while key CPA issues remain unresolved and while, in particular, there is an issue with the common border, and a particularly volatile and grave humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and potentially Blue Nile state.
So this is something we’re very concerned about, we’ve been focused on for quite some while. It’s not just the United States; it’s all of the leading members of the United Nations and others beyond that. And we will continue to do what we can to underscore to Khartoum that it is in their interests and the interests of the region that they not take this step. But they seem thus far to be quite determined, and this poses a great deal of worry for the security of people in Southern Kordofan for the common border, for humanitarian access, and a number of other important issues.
MODERATOR: I’m cautious of the schedule of our principals, so we have time for two more (inaudible).
QUESTION: Two quick ones. You say that it’s very obvious for the government of Khartoum what they need to do to be removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. But I was wondering if you could specify what exactly you expect next of them. I mean, I think they could argue that you keep changing the goalposts, and I was wondering whether you could be a little bit more specific.
And then on the conference that you mentioned for the end of September, could you tell us a little bit more about what kind of conference it is? Is it a pledging conference? Is it a brainstorming conference about how to take this further?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: As Ambassador Rice has indicated, the United States has laid out a very clear and specific roadmap for the government of Khartoum that would lead to a clear improvement in relations and include the removal of Khartoum from the state sponsor of terrorism list. That roadmap was originally conveyed to the government of Khartoum by Senator Kerry, and it has been reiterated over the last five or six months in numerous diplomatic dialogues, initially by Ambassador Scott Gration and now by Ambassador Princeton Lyman.
Clearly, the first step that must be done is the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. What we will see on Saturday with the independence of South Sudan is only one element of the full implementation of that agreement. As many of you may recall, that the CPA called for a resolution of both the problems in the South as well as in Abyei. There were supposed to be, on January 9, two referenda. One took place in the South; the other one was supposed to but did not take place in Abyei. As we have all mentioned, the issue of Abyei has not been resolved. In fact, since May 19th, the situation on the ground became worse and is only now returning to the status quo ante. It is imperative that the government of the North remove all SAF troops from Abyei, live up to its commitments in an agreement made with the South on June 20th with respect to Abyei.
But beyond that, the post-referendum issues that require immediate attention and completion are issues related to oil and transitional financial arrangements. There must be a resolution of the five remaining border disagreements along the South. There must be clarity on the issue of citizenship as well.
In addition, we have indicated to the government of Khartoum that we are prepared to review and look at the removal of state sponsor of terrorism designation from that country. But we have said that any removal of Khartoum from that list must be accompanied by full implementation of Abyei and must, in fact, meet all the criteria for the removal of the state sponsor designation under existing laws.
We are working as hard as we can with the authorities in Khartoum to make progress on these issues, but we are not yet at the end of the line with respect to full implementation of the agreement. We have not moved the goal posts. The government is clearly aware based on our verbal and written transmissions to them of exactly what is required.
AMBASSADOR STEINBERG: On the conference, the Government of South Sudan asked us to hold this conference as an opportunity for them to, two and a half months into their tenure, to show the international community a variety of commitments they’re prepared to make to be good development partners and good partners for the private sector. And so they have asked for the opportunity to present their development plans, to talk about what they’re going to be doing to keep corruption under control, to talk about how they’re going to be creating a conducive environment for the private sector, and a variety of other issues.
We’ve been working with the World Bank, with the African Union, with Norway, the United Kingdom, with Turkey and a variety of others to hold that as a two-day program. The first day is going to focus on what I’ve just described. The second day will focus on the private sector, and we’re working with the Corporate Council on Africa to put together a wide variety of opportunities for foreign investors. Again, this is a unique situation. There will be resources that are available from the Government of South Sudan, so this isn’t a question of having to need tremendous inflows of outside capital, but they do need help in this regard.
The other thing I would say is that it will also be an opportunity for us in the U.S. Government to announce some deliverables, some steps that we’re prepared to take in order to encourage South Sudan. As you may know, last year we provided some $300 million worth of assistance to South Sudan in the areas of education, housing, health care, and a variety of other areas. We’ll be announcing new plans at that point.
The other aspect I wanted to highlight vis-à-vis this conference but also more broadly vis-à-vis our development efforts in South Sudan is our emphasis on gender; our insistence that the government incorporate women into not only the delegations that they’re sending to these missions but also fully integrate gender considerations into all of their development efforts. And this is something that we stress very strongly with the government.
QUESTION: Just to go back about the designation on the terrorism list, is it under review at the moment or has the review not started yet, if there could be clarification on that? And if I could ask the same question about Darfur, how important is it to see some movement on Darfur? There is some fear that the focus on South Sudan and South Kordofan and Abyei is having less focus on Darfur. So what are your expectations from the government of Khartoum on that?
AMBASSADOR RICE: We initiated the process of examining Sudan’s status under the state sponsor of terrorism designation following the referendum. But as Ambassador Carson said repeatedly, there can be no lifting of that designation unless and until Khartoum fulfills its obligations under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, as we outlined very clearly and specifically in the U.S. roadmap that Ambassador Carson described. So that’s where we are.
With respect to Darfur, the United States has been for many years and remains deeply focused on the horrible humanitarian situation that persists in Darfur. We have been very active in every respect, most directly and consistently through the efforts of Ambassador Dane Smith to try to address and resolve not only the humanitarian but the political and security issues that remain of grave concern in Darfur. In the United Nations, we are very much focused on Darfur, on efforts to negotiate various aspects of resolution of the disagreement through Doha and other means. We have a large UN peacekeeping force on the ground in Darfur with a robust mandate to protect civilians, and we are urging that it do all it can within its capabilities to fulfill that mandate.
So by no means has Darfur been sidelined or fallen off the radar screen; quite the contrary. Unfortunately, now there are several other hot areas that require attention in parallel, but not to the exclusion of Darfur. And certainly, as we have elaborated with great specificity and in great detail, the roadmap for improved relations between the United States and the government in Khartoum, there are different stages and different elements to it, and the situation in Darfur is an important component. It is not the component that has immediate bearing on what we have been discussing, the state sponsorship designation. That’s tied to the criteria in the law, as Ambassador Carson said, as well as to performance on the CPA obligations. But there are other aspects of normalization and improvement, major aspects of normalization and improvement, that do depend on progress in Darfur.
QUESTION: Can you perhaps clarify that? Because I was under the impression – maybe it was from the last administration and maybe it’s a little bit different now.
AMBASSADOR RICE: It’s been a lot.
QUESTION: But I was just under the impression that Darfur was an issue in the terrorism list, kind of, criteria that obviously CPA was very important but that there was going to be no lifting of Sudan from the terrorism list until the situation improved in Darfur. Now, maybe it’s improved to the point where that’s not part of the criteria anymore?
AMBASSADOR RICE: I stand by what I just explained.
MS. NULAND: Good. Thank you very much to our briefers. Safe travels to Juba, and thanks to all of you.
AMBASSADOR RICE: Thank you.