Lugar Opening Statement: Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on Sudan
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U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar today delivered the following prepared statement at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Sudan.
Thank-you Mr. Chairman. I join you in welcoming back to the Committee our distinguished witness, who has a long record of service to our country and an unsurpassed depth of experience in African affairs. On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan was declared by its elected government to be independent of the Republic of Sudan. This is a rare modern milestone and one that follows decades of violent oppression and conflict. The people of South Sudan have realized their dream of independence and deserve recognition for the sacrifice and commitment they made to achieve it in the face of enormous odds. The people of the United States, from government officials to religious and academic communities, to young citizens, have had a profound impact in elevating the importance of resolving this deadly conflict. There is a prospect for new life and economic and social development in South Sudan.
Nonetheless, violence remains a real prospect for millions along the borders of these two newly defined countries. Each country’s respective security forces are continuing to engage in the three disputed areas along their common border, and there remains untold suffering, scarcity, and tension within both countries as well. It falls to the leaders of each country to acknowledge the challenges and begin to respond fairly to the needs of the people and to build upon an inclusive vision of a stable and productive future.
The challenges are daunting. Both Sudan and South Sudan represent widely diverse populations with a history of often violent competition. Khartoum will continue to govern many regions in the north that bridle at the harsh yoke of the Omar al Bashir government. Darfur remains unresolved, a region with millions displaced as a result of genocide, and the eastern provinces continue to suffer atrocities. In South Sudan, the leaders in Juba must learn how to govern and empower a new country with few common ties other than a common enemy. That enemy will remain a threat, as it was through proxy militias during the decades of war. The prospect of civil war across the south looms if the oil becomes a source of inter-tribal conflict rather than the means to build a better country. Oil, the primary source of income for both countries, could also be a bitter disappointment if, as many experts believe, it is limited and diminishing. South Sudan will initially join Sudan near the top of the list of the world’s failed states.
While the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 achieved the independence celebrated last weekend in Juba, there has been little progress in concluding the essential agreements between the north and south also required by the CPA, such as wealth sharing and border demarcation. The new country has limited governance capacity, weak and non-existent government institutions, and heavy reliance on outside donors. High capital costs limit prospects for private investment. These factors increase the likelihood of competition among ethnic tribes and diminish the odds for near term stability and growth.
While the United States should maintain its critical interest in a stable and productive South Sudan as well as a more responsible and responsive Republic of Sudan, it is evident these countries must begin to deliver for themselves. The U.S. has played a prominent role so far, from Senator Danforth’s efforts at concluding the CPA to Secretary Powell’s efforts to stop the genocide in Darfur, to Secretary Clinton’s recent direct engagement at the UN on an Abyei peacekeeper agreement. Now the administration must clearly define and limit its responsibilities and expectations associated with a long-term relationship with this nascent nation. The heavy burdens that now fall upon the people of both Sudans should be tempered, when and where appropriate, by the international community. Neighbors like Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda must help integrate the new country into the region while balancing emergent threats such as the approaching famine in the Horn of Africa and the human calamity in Darfur, which lacks a viable peace process.
I thank Ambassador Lyman for his decades of dedicated diplomacy. I look forward to hearing from him how the international community can assist in this effort across both Sudans and how the United States roadmap has worked to date and prospects for its continuation.