WASHINGTON, DC— U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs issued the following statement today on South Sudan Independence:
“Today, July 9, 2011, South Sudan officially declared its independence from the Government of Sudan. I congratulate the new Republic of South Sudan on this historic moment. After a half century of war and the loss of 2 million people, the South Sudanese now have the ability to determine their own future. This day is a testament to the will of the people of South Sudan and the tireless diplomatic efforts of both parties to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). I am concerned, however, that several unresolved issues could threaten the long-term implementation of the CPA and ultimately derail the fragile peace between the North and South. I support the following measures which would strengthen the ongoing peace process.?
First, the United States must work with the UN and other international partners to ensure that vulnerable populations in both countries are protected. This includes supporting an agreement on citizenship rights for northerners living in the South and southerners living in the North and calling on Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to allow unfettered access for humanitarian aid workers to deliver assistance to innocent civilians. ? Second, the international community must support a mutually acceptable accord on the final status of the border region of Abyei. With an estimated 100,000 people displaced due to fighting between northern and southern Sudanese forces over the past several months, a final agreement is imperative to any lasting peace.
Third, the United States, along with our international partners, should encourage the North to engage in consultations with the two northern states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile to resolve long-standing differences. To this end, Khartoum must end the violence in Southern Kordofan and stand by its commitments as laid out in the June 20 political and security framework agreement.
Fourth, the international community must continue to work with both sides to address the larger outstanding issues in the CPA, such as oil revenues, final borders, and Darfur – all of which are critical for lasting peace in the region. I have great concern for the future of Sudan. The United States must continue to help maintain this fragile peace. In the months ahead, I will work with the Administration to ensure that the United States continues to support the ongoing peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts in this region – including the new UN peacekeeping force in South Sudan and Abyei - so that innocent civilians can safely receive the aid and protection they deserve.”