Video Message from Ambassador Booth for Road to Peace and Democracy Conference
Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan
Hello, I am Ambassador Donald Booth, the U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.
It is my privilege to greet you today and share my appreciation for your collective efforts to support peace and reconciliation in South Sudan. Building a just and lasting peace will require South Sudanese to work together, with support from their friends around the world.
The Road to Peace and Democracy Conference is an important step towards this goal and towards ending the senseless conflict that has plagued that country for the past two years.
Today, the situation remains dire. Fighting continues in Unity state and elsewhere, and millions throughout the country face hunger and insecurity. South Sudan remains one of the most food insecure countries in the world and the ongoing conflict is perpetuating the risk of famine for the second year in a row. The U.S. government has provided more than $1.3 billion in humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict in December 2013; however, sadly both sides continue to impede delivery of such assistance.
In August we welcomed the decision of President Salva Kiir and the opposition to conclude the regionally-sponsored “Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan”. I strongly believe this peace agreement provides the best opportunity to save lives put at risk by this conflict and to move the country on a productive path forward.
We are also pleased that the parties have committed themselves to working with a Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee led by former Botswanan President Festus Mogae to oversee and support all aspects of the peace agreement.
As you know, the road to lasting peace in South Sudan will not be easy. Implementing the agreement will require reform of the security sector, of the economic and financial sector, a revised permanent constitution, and new mechanisms for justice and reconciliation.
In a positive step, on November 3, South Sudan’s parties agreed to security arrangements in Juba; this is a critical step towards establishing the transitional government of national unity whose job is to implement these reforms and give South Sudan a fresh start.
The United States and the international community stand in solidarity with the South Sudanese people. We are committed to supporting a credible, independent and effective hybrid court to hold to account the perpetrators of atrocities- as well as supporting the process of truth-telling to enable victims to bring some measure of closure to the cycle of revenge that has consumed South Sudan.
As the Diaspora, you can play a significant role in bringing skills and new ideas to the development of South Sudan. Your participation in today’s conference demonstrates your profound commitment to restoring the spirit of hope and promise South Sudanese people shared at independence in 2011.
Building a sustainable peace must start now, and it will require the courage and goodwill of all South Sudanese. I send my best wishes to each of you for a productive conference. The United States looks forward to working with you to reconcile communities and to establish lasting peace and stability in South Sudan.