WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) is traveling to Sudan as part of the Committee’s ongoing effort to assess security, political, and economic developments in advance of the referendum in January that will determine whether Southern Sudan becomes an independent nation. During his three-day trip, the Chairman will conduct high-level meetings in both Khartoum and Juba.
“Sudan is at a pivotal moment. Every reliable source indicates that Southern Sudan will vote for separation, dividing Africa's largest country and taking with it some 80 percent of known Sudanese oil reserves. The critical choice that leaders in both North and South face is between a future of peaceful coexistence or a return to chaos and war in a place tragically familiar with both. January is rapidly approaching; the Sudanese in the North and the South must seize this moment and address the difficult issues that could seriously disrupt the fulfillment of the landmark Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which included provision for the referendum, and lead to unnecessary violence. America must help North and South Sudan find a peaceful path forward,” said Chairman Kerry.
This is Chairman Kerry’s second trip to Sudan since assuming the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee. In April 2009, he traveled to Khartoum and to an internally displaced persons camp in Darfur. Senator Kerry is also the author of the bipartisan Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010, which reasserts the U.S. commitment to working toward peace throughout Sudan. Earlier this month, he published an op-ed titled, “Diplomacy Urgent As Vote To Split Sudan Nears”.