Former Secretary of State Powell was a member of the U.S. delegation to the Republic of South Sudan independence ceremony.
Today, I congratulate the Republic of South Sudan on its independence. This moment is built upon the hard work, steadfast commitment, and unrelenting hope of the people of South Sudan, often in the face of great challenge and adversity.
The emergence of the Republic of South Sudan as a new, independent state represents another step forward for democracy and the manifestation of a people’s desire for peace and prosperity. This is a momentous occasion not only for the people of South Sudan, but for their neighbors to the north, as well as across Africa, and for all the international partners that have supported this process.
People around the world vote for leaders not solely based on ideology or politics, but with the simple and universal hope that their lives will improve, that their children will have the opportunity to learn and thrive, and that they will have secure homes and brighter futures. This is the challenge that lies ahead for the leaders of the Republic of South Sudan. The millions who voted for independence know well what they have fought for all these years, and recognize the promise that lies ahead as well as the dangers they must avoid. President Kiir and his nascent government must focus on the future, and as they work to forge a new direction for their people, the United States and the international community will continue to stand by their side.
In 2005, I was proud to witness the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. At that time, many believed that this blueprint for a way out of conflict and strife and towards peace and stability would fail. The fact is that it has succeeded and, while not perfect, continues to provide a path forward for the people of the entire region. Today’s ceremony marks an important step, an historic one, but not the end to the hard work and challenges ahead. The issues surrounding Abyei, South Kordofan, and the Blue Nile region must be resolved peacefully. And the remaining elements of the CPA must be tackled by both sides expeditiously, as they have committed to do, together.
The people of the United States add their voice in the chorus of celebration, and we all can use today to recommit ourselves to the cause of peace in the region.