The birth of South Sudan in 2011 was marked by hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. The American people, like many around the world, celebrated as the South Sudanese forged a free and independent nation following years of strife. Six years later, on the occasion of South Sudan’s independence, the promise of 2011 has been supplanted in 2017 by a continuing civil war and devastating humanitarian crisis affecting millions.
The conflict that broke out in December 2013 set South Sudan on a precarious course, causing immense suffering, creating divisions and holding the country back. We deeply regret that the second chance made possible by the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity in April 2016 was squandered. Following the collapse of the permanent ceasefire in July 2016, the armed conflict expanded across the country and the parties to the conflict remain unwilling to return to the negotiating table. The consequences have been dire: two million people displaced inside South Sudan, nearly two million people displaced as refugees outside of South Sudan, and six million people facing life-threatening hunger.
The United States remains deeply committed to a stable and inclusive South Sudan, and stresses once again that there is no military solution to this conflict. On this day meant to celebrate South Sudan’s creation, we call upon South Sudan’s leaders and all parties to end this self-destructive violence, to return to political dialogue, and to help South Sudan realize its full potential.
We extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the sixth anniversary of the nation’s independence. The United States will stand with the people of South Sudan and with all leaders who are working for peace, stability, and justice.