Bipartisan Congressional Leaders Call for End of Hostilities and Encourage Inclusive Political Dialogue in South Sudan


Washington, D.C. – Today, a bipartisan and bicameral group of Congressional leaders expressed deep concern to South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit about the growing ethnic violence and deteriorating security situation in the world’s newest independent nation.  The Congressional leaders called on all political leaders to cease hostilities and exercise restraint to prevent the violence from further escalating and emphasized the importance of an inclusive political dialogue.

The Congressional leaders expressing their concern today in a letter to President Kiir are House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN), as well as the co-chairs of the House Sudan Caucus, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep, Frank Wolf (R-VA), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA), and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX).

In the letter to President Kiir, the Congressional leaders wrote: “Any political leaders who put on Army fatigues and pick up weapons will surely reverse the gains made since independence...[Y]our public statements carry great weight in setting the political tone of the current situation. Rhetoric that appears to condone violence will serve only to deepen the growing rift in your country...[A]ny political leaders who attempt to seize or control power through military means will jeopardize future U.S. engagement and assistance...the legacies of leaders are forged in trying times like the one you are currently facing in South Sudan. Your actions over the course of the coming days will be critical in influencing the path your country takes and how people remember your leadership...”

The signed letter is available HERE

The text of the letter follows: 

December 24, 2013

His Excellency Salva Kiir Mayardit
President of the Republic of South Sudan Office of the President Juba, South Sudan

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our deep concern about the growing ethnic violence and deteriorating security situation in South Sudan, and call on all parties to cease hostilities and exercise restraint to prevent violence from further escalating.

As strong supporters of South Sudan’s independence from the Republic of Sudan, we are troubled to see Juba head down a path of violence and division rather than unity and prosperity. On February 9, 2011, after the independence referendum results were announced, you told your fellow citizens that they have “voted for freedom, equality, justice, and democracy.  You have voted for the fulfillment of the ideals that inspired our struggle from its inception in 1983…As a people, you have chosen the path to permanent peace. You have chosen the path to human dignity.” That powerful message is one that should be embraced by all in South Sudan today. 

We believe a positive way forward from this crisis can still be achieved through an inclusive dialogue that represents the interests of all citizens of South Sudan. In particular, we are hopeful that working with ministerial delegation from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development may provide an opportunity to avoid further conflict and build steps towards an inclusive process to reconcile political differences. Any political leaders who put on Army fatigues and pick up weapons will surely reverse the gains made since independence. 

As a founding father of the new South Sudan and the country’s head of state, your public statements carry great weight in setting the political tone of the current situation. Rhetoric that appears to condone violence will serve only to deepen the growing rift in your country. Above all, it must be understood that any political leaders who attempt to seize or control power through military means will jeopardize future U.S. engagement and assistance.

Mr. President, the legacies of leaders are forged in trying times like the one you are currently facing in South Sudan. Your actions over the course of the coming days will be critical in influencing the path your country takes and how people remember your leadership of the world’s newest nation.

We appreciate your attention to this letter and look forward to seeing a brighter day in South Sudan.

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