July 09, 2012

Kerry on First Anniversary of South Sudan’s Independence

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following is a statement by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, on the first anniversary of South Sudan’s independence.

“Last July 9th, against enormous odds, a new state was born, and a remarkable victory achieved for the people of South Sudan and their newly established government.  Two nations emerged:  a newly independent South Sudan and a greatly altered Sudan, and both have struggled since.  In the face of significant provocation, South Sudan chose to cut off the flow of oil through the northern pipeline and sever its own economic lifeline, possibly for years to come.  Sudan, in turn, has waged war on the people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and has denied them humanitarian aid.  In recent weeks, Sudan has crushed peaceful demonstrations, and arrested and reportedly brutalized protesters.  Both countries face accelerating economic crises and need to resolve outstanding border disputes.  It has sometimes appeared that each side is betting on the other’s economic demise and political collapse, which has caused talks to stagnate – a strategy that can only lead to mutual disaster.

“We’ve seen both Sudans struggle with the legacies of separation and their own internal challenges.  Some of the optimism I felt witnessing South Sudan’s referendum on independence has faded, but it has not been eclipsed.  Ironically, for all their bloody history, these two countries share a lot more than a disputed border.  Each faces the challenges of diversity as well as economic peril, but they can also embrace the opportunities of development and democracy.  In the past year, tensions have increased, fighting in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and at times along the border, has continued and both economies have gone into a tailspin.  But I take heart from the fact that bilateral talks have been renewed and I’m confident that Sudan and South Sudan can find a way to resolve their differences if they choose to do so.  It is their path to find, but the United States remains committed to supporting them along the road to peace.”

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