Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit, First Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan and President of the Government of Southern Sudan

Public Address on the Occasion of his return from the Official Visit to the United States of America Juba, Southern Sudan

Friday 1st October, 2010

My Dear Compatriots,
Citizens of Southern Sudan and all Sudanese,
Our Dear Friends Residing in Southern Sudan,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to convey to you messages of good wishes from your Southern Sudanese Diaspora, people of goodwill worldwide, friends in the United States of America, Europe, Africa and the region. This has been my last visit to the United States of America before the referendum takes place on January 9th, 2011. I was invited by the United Nations Secretary General in New York, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Security Council, to attend the High-Level Meeting on Sudan which was organized at the brink of the end of the implementation of the Sudan Comprehensive Agreement (CPA).

Before I deliver my message to you, let us rise up and observe a moment of silence in honour of our heroes and heroines on top of them all is our dear comrade, Dr John Garang De Mabior.

My Dear Compatriots,
I thank you for this very warm welcome that you have accorded me having been out of Juba for two weeks. Allow me also to pay tribute to all those who have committed themselves to ensure peace in the Sudan. Members of the International Community headed - the United Nations, the Troika Countries led by the United States of America, Norway, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy and the European Union. I take this opportunity to also thank most sincerely, our neighboring countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea and Djibouti for their commitment to guarantee the full implementation of the CPA. I would particularly single out the bi-partisan support we have in the Congress of the United States of America, the Churches and civil society organizations for the love they have displayed for souls thousands of miles away in Southern Sudan.

As we get closer to the zero hour of the Interim period, our commitment is that the exercise of the right to self-determination must take place on time January 9th, 2011. This is the bottom line and a hard won right whose ultimate price is more than 4 million lives lost during the long two civil wars since independence in 1956.

This has been my message everywhere during my recent visit be it to the Congressional Black Caucus, at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), the UN International Peace Institute (IPI), the UN High-Level Meeting on Sudan, to the Sudanese Diaspora and the media. I went there to thank the American people and friends worldwide, and pay tribute to them, for their steadfast support. Remember it is the pressures from far away that also contributed to the signing of the CPA. The continued interest of the region, the international community, civil society organizations, the Churches and all people of goodwill remains critical more than ever in the testing months ahead.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The CPA remains the vital foundation of peace today, and will remain so in the months ahead. I want to reiterate my welcome and gratitude for the extraordinary leadership of the United States of America, under many administrations and their European allies, which made the CPA to happen and are still helping to ensure that peace is maintained. The leadership of the international community and the region remains essential so that the enemies of peace in the Sudan are kept at a disadvantage.

I am immensely grateful and look forward to continued contacts with these friends of peace to guarantee the future without a reverse to war. The vehicle we are driving has no reverse gear and when we are pushed to the wall we will be left with no option but to defend ourselves. I have in the past appealed to parents that nobody should allow their children to be used for war again. Life is precious and sacred and it should not be sacrificed for the selfish aims of political leaders. I urge you all Sudanese to remain vigilant and guard against war mongers who have not and will not even touch the gun in their life time. I appeal to the gallant armies of the Sudan and all able bodied personnel to shun war and value life of their children, women and the old in society.

My Dear Compatriots,
Today, we are left with less than 100 days to reach the vital moment in the history of the CPA, the Referendum. This is an extraordinary moment in the history of Africa. We must not let the enemies of peace and spoilers to disrupt the forthcoming momentous event. We must be realistic and clear-sighted about what lies ahead of us. The referendum is a golden opportunity when Southern Sudanese and the people of Abyei will make an informed choice of either unity of the Sudan or secession. Therefore, I urge all Southern Sudanese eligible voters to register en masse in order to decide the fate of their existence come January 9th, 2011.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the last 5 years, it has become clear that unity has not been made an option for our people. Our partners in the North showed very little interest or activity to make unity a realistic proposition. At the moment, all signs point to the fact that on January 9th, 2011 Southern Sudanese people will vote overwhelmingly for independence. This is what I told the international community in New York and throughout the United States that we must together prepare for this eventuality.

We have been moving heaven and earth to ensure that the necessary referenda in Southern Sudan and Abyei should take place correctly and on time but there have also been worrying signs of foot-dragging from our partners in the North. I would like to make it clear and sundry that no disruption or delay to these referenda can be tolerated.

As we look forward to this historic event, we will work harder to overcome any limitations in order to fulfill the obligation of letting our people to exercise the hard won right of freedom to choose. The measure of credibility of the vote should be clear and understood beforehand. I have assured the international community that we are working for a vote that will represent fairly the views of the people. This should be the measure of the legitimacy of the process. It is not realistic to demand perfection but it is in our interest that a free, fair and transparent process is put in place.

Critically important is that the referenda take place on time, as stipulated in the CPA. Delay or denial of the right of self-determination for the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei risks dangerous instability. There is without question a real risk of a return to violence on a massive scale if the referenda do not go ahead as scheduled. To us, the timing of the referenda is Devine. The weight of our history, the depths of our peoples’ suffering and corresponding expectations, the promises of their leaders both in the North and South, and the guarantees of the international community create no space for wavering on this commitment.

Distinguished Citizens,
Once the vote for self-determination has taken place, different challenges will emerge. Here again, we will need the leadership of peace loving peoples of the world, particularly the guarantors of the CPA, to ensure a peaceful transition. It will be vital that the international community respect its stated commitment to accept the results, and help the parties make the necessary arrangements for a new situation to emerge.

As we prepare for the referendum, we have also begun negotiations on post-referendum issues. The Government of Southern Sudan has approached these negotiations with seriousness and good intentions. We are genuinely willing to negotiate with our brothers in the North, and are prepared to work in a spirit of partnership to create sustainable relations between Northern and Southern Sudan for the long-term. It is in our interest to see that the North remains a viable state, just as it should be in the interests of the North to see Southern Sudan emerge a viable one too. The North is our neighbour, it shares our history, and it hosts our brothers and sisters. Moreover, I have reiterated several times in my speeches in the past that even if Southern Sudan separates from the North it will not shift to the Indian Ocean or to the Atlantic Coast!

We will strive to be good neighbors by building good relations and peace between the people of Northern and Southern Sudan. We will develop trade and economic relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We will negotiate post-referendum issues fairly and consistent with international law. We will work to preserve and enhance the livelihoods of all Sudanese people, including those depending on traditional migrations across the North/South border.

Distinguished Compatriots,
I would like to particularly point out a number of issues of well-known concern: The first is oil, where everybody seems to think that in order for Southern Sudan to become an independent state, it must give up most of its oil reserves to the North. Now where is justice here? The North has been sharing with us the oil from the South while having exclusive utilization of revenues from northern oil turn out. We should have mutually agreed for a formula that is satisfactory to all so that our populations should have equal economic benefits from the oil sector.

That notwithstanding, we believe that there is a very real opportunity to demonstrate how two states can work together cooperatively to bring economic prosperity to both of their nations in the event of secession. To this end, we have recently agreed with the NCP for a full independent audit of Sudan’s petroleum sector along with the publication of daily production figures in order to promote an atmosphere of trust and accountability between North and South.

The second particular and critical issue is citizenship – we would like the safety and rights of Southerners in the North and safety and rights of Northerners in the South, as well as for the peoples who have traditionally travelled through the border areas, to be fully protected. On our side, we are committed to provide and guarantee adequate security for all Sudanese in a manner that respects the rule of law and the rights and freedoms of all individuals, no matter what their tribe, origin, religion, or ethnicity. We look for a reciprocal commitment from our brothers in the North.

The third is the pressing issue of Abyei, where stability now and in the future depends. I urge our partners to implement the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s (PCA) decision, which Khartoum claims to have accepted, but where there has been continual delay. We do not want Abyei to become the potential trigger for conflict to reignite again between the South and the North. The SPLM and the NCP will be meeting in Addis Ababa this weekend and I hope that a final solution should be found for the implementation of the Abyei Protocol. I mentioned it before and I will repeat again that there is no reverse to war because of the lack of implementation of the Abyei Protocol. Ya jama, I am not a coward but it is only those who have not tested the anguish of war who can still drill for it. I promise you that it will not be easy if war breaks out again for it could lead to the total dismembering of the country. Therefore let us all work for peaceful divorce so that we can still afford smiling at one another whenever mutual business brings us together. I know that the media is also fueling the situation and bad media has often attempted to speak on behalf of the leaders of the NCP and the SPLM. They have done this several times by misquoting both the NCP and the SPLM leaders including putting words in President Bashir’s mouth and my mouth too. We will surmount any attempts to trigger war again!

Finally, there is lots of talk about compromises. I would like to stress that it should not be up to the South to put all of the compromises on the table at the outset. There are rising calls that the South must make ‘accommodations’ and ‘compromises’, if it expects the North to accept its independence. The terms ‘accommodation’ and ‘compromise’ or phrases such as “buy your freedom” are troubling. These terms imply in some way that the South has not already made significant compromises and sacrifices. Anyone who knows the history of our country knows that nothing could be further from the truth.

We must also be realistic about these negotiations because it is unlikely that we will agree on all aspects of the post-referendum arrangements before January 9th, 2011. We will work hard to get as far as possible. But the timing of the referendum is sacrosanct and is not contingent on the conclusion of any post-referendum negotiations, including over the border, as the CPA itself makes it clear. Elsewhere, referenda have successfully been held even when borders were not completely resolved and why should Southern Sudan be different?

Fellow Southern Sudanese,
The referendum will mark the beginning of a longer journey towards development and improved livelihoods for our people. We want to responsibly and sustainably exploit our country’s natural resources, while also recognizing the need to diversify our country’s economy, and in particular to develop our agricultural sector. We are committed to sustainable peace and stability irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. We have achieved a lot in the past few years since the CPA was signed, but we still have a lot of work before us after the referendum.

We are committed to establishing transparent and accountable government consistent with the requirements of statehood. We will uphold democratic principles and guarantee all kinds of freedom for all our diverse communities.

I would like to us to stay clear of our detractors who have in the past floated propaganda about the viability of Southern Sudan as a state if its people chose independence? Let me assure you that Southern Sudan will contribute immensely to peace and the well being of our region of the horn of Africa and our continent. We have got potentials that, in a free and peaceful environment, can be exploited not just for the development and sustenance of the new state but also for the benefit of the neighboring countries.

Moreover there is lots of evidence to show that during the last five years of transition we began rehabilitation and building from nothing. Today government institutions are fully established and we are building our capacity to provide services to our people. What the government of Southern Sudan has achieved in five years is tens of thousand times more than what all governments of Sudan delivered in fifty years.

At this juncture, I would like to appeal to our donor partners and the international community that after the referendum, our people will continue to need help. In particular, we will need the support of multilateral institutions such as the World Bank so that arrangements can be made to allow Southern Sudan to benefit from soft loans and grants in order to develop rapidly. Our donor partners’ leadership is critical for this, and in shaping and supporting the UN presence in Southern Sudan. This is critical in order to help with the remaining issues of post-referendum negotiations such as border demarcation and the protection of civilians in border areas.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me conclude by saying the following about the future of the Sudan:
1. The future of Sudan is hanging in the balance and it could worsen if the referenda in Southern Sudan and Abyei are obstructed and delayed. Therefore, it requires the attention of the region and the international community at large to guard against any dangerous political gamble.
2. It is important for us to accept that ensuring full CPA implementation (including the timely conduct of the referenda on January 9th, 2011) is also ensuring permanent peace in Sudan and the region if not the world at large.
3. The international community, particularly the Troika and the UN, IGAD countries and the African Union should prepare to intervene if conflict arises during and after the conduct of the referendum.
4. The P5 members, the Troika, IGAD countries, the African Union and the international community should explicitly endorse the referendum and recognition of the choice of the people of Southern Sudan and Abyei.
5. The world should view Southern Sudan as a potential contributor to regional and international peace should it become independent after the referendum.
6. Be assured that Southern Sudan will be the catalyst for the consolidation of democracy in the Sudan and an exemplary of human rights adherent.
7. Southern Sudan is a potential market to the region because already the neighboring countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and DR Congo are benefiting a great deal from it.
8. Therefore, I urge investors worldwide to come and invest in Southern Sudan. In terms of agriculture, it will be the bread basket of the region and the world.
 9. Finally, I call upon our donor partners and the international community to contribute generously in the building of the capacity of Southern Sudan so as to develop in order to catch up with the rest of the region and the international community in terms of modernization.

In a nutshell, we have a roadmap for success in Sudan, which is the CPA. It is up to all of us to ensure that it is fully implemented. I am grateful for the unwavering support and interest of the international community in this endeavor. The presence of Consulates, the UN and International Agencies throughout Southern Sudan is testimony to that. I would like to tell our friends that in order to preserve and sustain the peace we have been enjoying during the past five years, we need you and the world needs peace!

We have a lot of work to do between now and January 9th, 2011, but with your help, I am confident that we can achieve our common goals of prosperous economic development, the protection of human rights, but above all a sustainable and lasting peace for all of the people of Sudan.

Once again, I thank you all for the very warm welcome that you have accorded me and my entourage. Let us not squander the golden moments ahead of us instead let us stay vigilant in order to tackle the fears and hopes of the future of our country, the Sudan.

Long live the CPA,
Long live the memories of our martyrs,
Freedom and peace to our country, the region and the world!
Thank you and May God Almighty bless you always!