I welcome the agreement on oil reached between the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan. This agreement reflects leadership and a new spirit of compromise on both sides.
We praise the courage of the Republic of South Sudan's leadership in taking this decision. As I said in Juba yesterday, the interests of their people were at stake. The oil impasse has lasted more than six months. Now was the time to bring this impasse to a close, for the good of the people of South Sudan and their aspirations for a better future in the face of ongoing challenges. South Sudan's leaders have risen to the occasion. They tabled a bold comprehensive proposal at this latest round of talks, and an agreement was hammered out with the strong assistance of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel for Sudan (AUHIP). The future of South Sudan is now brighter.
For Sudan, too, this agreement offers a way out of the extreme economic stress it is now experiencing. The Government of Sudan deserves credit for taking this step. If Sudan would now also take the steps to peace in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, and Darfur, and if it will respect the rights of all citizens, it can likewise give its people a brighter future.
Finally, we are encouraged by the potential announcement of an agreement shortly on humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. We urge immediate implementation of this urgently needed assistance.