Remarks at the Forum for Support of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) for Sudan

James B. Steinberg
Deputy Secretary of State
Park Hyatt
Washington, DC
June 23, 2009

Well, you know you’re being commanded by a general, when you see his troops out here. This is quite a remarkable gathering. And it’s a great pleasure and honor to be here. I think it is a tribute to Scott’s tremendous personal commitment to working with all of you to deal with this very important and difficult situation – one that has a lot of history, but hopefully, has a better future that you’ve all been – agreed to come so far to be part of this and from so many different aspects of the challenge of bringing peace and a more hopeful future to the people of Sudan. So Scott, thank you for your leadership.

As you know, the President and the Secretary are grateful for your willingness to take this on. It’s not the most thankful of tasks, but hopefully, the rewards in the end will be great. And we really do appreciate this. I think you all can understand that the decision to appoint General Gration as our Special Envoy for Sudan represents the level of commitment that the President and the Secretary feel to this agenda. And so we, once again, express our appreciation.

I also want to recognize the fact that we have several generals here leading our efforts, including General Lazarus Sumbeiywo who has also made a major contribution, a principal architect of the CPA. And his commitment and determination is instrumental in bringing the parties together and making it possible to have a framework from which we can all try to build going forward.

Together, as you look around the room, you can see that this is a remarkable and diverse group of individuals and representative countries and organizations. And I and the whole team here in Washington take heart in the fact that you’ve all come together to try to fulfill the commitment of implementing the CPA.

I’m especially grateful to Senators Kerry and Corker and Isakson for participating in this. I think it gives you a sense of both the bicameral and executive and legislative commitment as well as the bipartisan commitment that we all feel to this cause. And I know that with their support and their active engagement, the prospects are that much brighter.

As you all know, it’s been four years since the signing of this historic accord. And we also – as we celebrate that achievement, we also can never let the recent peace allow us to erase the memory of the millions who were killed in the conflict that preceded the settlement. That legacy of loss provides a reminder of the promise that this agreement represents, but also its stakes for the future as we try to make sure that this tragedy does not happen again. It’s a young peace and it’s much younger than the fight that it ended, but we have to make sure that it becomes a much more long-lived one.

Together we recognize the importance of this achievement in bringing an end to the North-South conflict. But at the same time, it’s important that we remember the ongoing conflict in Darfur as well. Millions of innocent people have been forced from their homes as a result of that genocide and now face appalling conditions. And we all recognize that to deal with the problems of North-South and CPA implementation, we need a holistic approach that recognizes that all of the challenges in Sudan are interconnected and we have to work on them together. And we recognize that as we develop our overall approach to Sudan, we recognize that just as we’re committed to the implementation of the CPA too, we strengthen our determination and resolve to work with all the parties together to try to see a resolution of the situation in Darfur as well.

Today’s focus is on the CPA and the peaceful democratic transformation of Africa’s largest country. It’s taken long work, patient negotiation to get here, and it will take equally hard work to make sure that that promise is realized. And the fact that we can gather here and have so many different participants is a reflection of how much has been done to institutionalize the peace between North and South since the signing of the CPA.

But we also recognize that we are facing some very important milestones in the near future, which will determine the path of the future. And they will set the foundation, for better or for worse, of the very future of Sudan and for the region as a whole. And therefore the stakes are enormous and the importance of our – really focusing our efforts now in making sure that these processes as they go forward are fair, open, transparent, and are consistent with the spirit that brought about the CPA in the first place. These are challenges that the parties have to face to make sure that future generations of the Sudanese children don’t have to suffer the pain and dislocation that afflicted so many in the past.

So my message today or the message that Scott has carried with such vigor to the region and around the world, in fact, is that the international community and the United States supports your efforts to realize the promise of the CPA, the commitments that we made together in Naivasha, and through our presence here today reflect a commitment of all of us to see that the promise is realized. That promise will continue. You will be seeing a lot of Scott and his team, General Ward and others, who have committed to making sure that we do everything that we can to facilitate the very difficult but important work that you’re all engage in.

So thank you for your time, thank you for traveling so far to be with us. We wish you the best of luck. The President and the Secretary are fully behind all of the efforts that you’re putting into this here today and in the weeks and months going forward. So thank you. (Applause.)

PRN: 2009/631