Prof. U. Joy Ogwu

Ambassador and Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations

New York, NY

13th July, 2011 

As Delivered

Nigeria greatly appreciates the special attention that you, Sir, are devoting to the Sudan today. The contributions of your country to the Sudanese process are well recognized, as is your personal commitment.

 I would like to welcome the participation of the Vice-President of the Republic of South Sudan, Mr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon, and to thank him for his inspiring comments. I also welcome my colleague, Ambassador Osman, and thank him for his statement.  The Secretary-General has been unrelenting in his quest for peace, as has Under-Secretary-General Le Roy in his unremitting efforts in waging peace. Allow me, on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, to congratulate President Salva Kiir and the people of the Republic of South Sudan on finally achieving statehood. Our President Goodluck Jonathan shared this historic moment with the people of South Sudan in Juba and conveyed Nigeria’s solidarity and unflinching support as the country begins the arduous process of nation-building.

 Let me also commend the leadership of the Sudan for promptly recognizing South Sudan’s independence. The President and the people of the Sudan have demonstrated courage and steadfast commitment to the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). We believe that this is an inspiring lesson in international responsibility and peacemaking.

 On 9 July, the international community joyfully welcomed the historic birth of Africa’s newest State, South Sudan, following a protracted struggle. We must acknowledge the inherent challenges facing the newborn State, not least of which are insecurity, institution-building, infrastructure and economic development, political and social cohesion, the integration of returnees, meeting international obligations, and forging a strong and lasting partnership with its neighbours, especially the Sudan.

 Without a doubt, the primary responsibility for setting priorities and identifying strategies for addressing these post-conflict State-building challenges lies with the Government of South Sudan. First, the signing of a new interim constitution, the granting of amnesty to former armed fighters, the move to diversify the economy from oil dependency, and the emphasis on unity based on cultural and ethnic diversity are necessary steps in the right direction.

 The new Republic of South Sudan will require the support not only of its immediate neighbour, the Sudan, but also of the international community. A peaceful, stable, equitable and mutually beneficial relationship between the Sudan and South Sudan is critical to internal peace and regional stability. We therefore welcome the recent statements of both Presidents Kiir and Al-Bashir reaffirming their commitment to resolving all remaining issues of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and to bringing peace to the troubled areas of Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, as well as Darfur. That commitment not only will serve as the bedrock of the future relationship between the two countries, but also should reinvigorate the momentum for the resolution of all outstanding issues of the CPA under the auspices of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel.

 Nigeria is encouraged by the successes of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel under the leadership of President Thabo Mbeki. The Panel remains a valuable mechanism for the resolution of all post-referendum and post-CPA issues, including the demarcation of the North-South boundary. We welcome the steps that the CPA parties have taken to resolve outstanding issues, and look forward to the fulfillment of the objectives outlined in the 20 June Agreement, the 28 June Framework Agreement and the 29 June Agreement.

 The parties have also utilized the Panel to explore post-secession issues, including citizenship, freedoms, the creation of a soft border, oil resources, trade issues and debt relief. The coming months will pose the first test of the respective Governments’ ability to protect their citizens from upheaval and unrest under the framework of those agreements. We call upon both Governments to work with United Nations peacekeeping forces to leave no stone unturned in seeking to guarantee the protection of civilians and to allow humanitarian access in critical areas. We note the need for cooperation with other relevant actors in the region, namely, the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), the United Nations country team in South Sudan, the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur, the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei, and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 In supporting resolution 1996 (2011) establishing UNMISS, Nigeria was confident that its broad mandate typifies the quality of United Nations assistance that we envisage as being most beneficial to the people of South Sudan. As security and development are closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing, we believe that they are key to attaining sustainable peace. It is highly critical that the twin pillars of the peacekeeping and peacebuilding mandate be fully operationalized.

 Independence may have come at a great cost, but the future of the Republic of South Sudan will bear out that undertaking. We are convinced that it will prove to have been a valuable investment if the human, cultural and economic resources of the country are strategically harnessed for the highest national benefit.