Saturday, July 9, was a momentous day for the people of South Sudan as the international community joined with them to celebrate the birth of the world's newest independent nation. Following years of civil war and a tense transition, the realization of a peaceful split with Sudan is a testament to their tireless efforts for self-determination.
Sunday, July 10, can be seen as equally important because that’s when the real work of governing a new nation begins. The challenges facing South Sudan are many. The needs are great for basic health, education, roads and other infrastructure. An economy largely dependent on oil must be diversified. Militia groups still clash with government forces in some areas. And agreement must be reached with the Sudanese government on the future of Abyei state and the fair division of its oil revenues.
The work is at hand, however, and the South Sudanese people have repeatedly shown their capacity to overcome great odds. President Salva Kiir has named a vice president and formed a government, and the country has quickly established its own currency, the South Sudan pound.
The United States has stood with the people of South Sudan these many years and will remain a steadfast partner as they seek to build a free, democratic and inclusive society. Important roles were also played by the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Arab League, Intergovernmental Authority and Sudan's neighbors in supporting the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that set the stage of independence. We look forward to continue working with them and other international partners supporting both Sudan and South Sudan as two viable states at peace with one another.