Summary: 9 July 2011, Juba - Remarks by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton at South Sudan's Independence Day celebration, 9 July 2011
It is a great honour to be here in Juba to celebrate the birth of the Republic of South Sudan. This is my first visit to Juba. I'm sure it will not be the last.
The European Union and its Member States warmly congratulate the people of South Sudan on their independence. I would also like to congratulate His Excellency President Salva Kiir on having been sworn in as the President of the Republic of South Sudan.
The EU was a witness to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The peaceful Referendum was a true reflection of the democratically expressed wishes of the people of South Sudan. On this historic day, the European Union and its 27 Member States welcome the Republic of South Sudan as a new independent state.
Creating a new state is never easy. The European Union itself includes a number of nations, some created by the separation of a single state into two, which only came into existence, less than twenty years ago. We know this can be achieved peacefully, but we know it is a challenge.
So we understand that the world’s newest state will require international support to become a secure, peaceful and prosperous country, able to meet the needs and expectations of its people. We will be your partner in achieving this, not just now, but for the long term. This partnership will be focussed on helping the people of South Sudan, through working together with their government. This is why it is important for South Sudan's leaders to embrace pluralism and diversity and lay the foundation for a democratic, fair and inclusive society, based on the rule of law and respect for human rights.
I would like to acknowledge the constructive role of the people of Sudan and their Government in accepting the outcome of the Referendum on southern independence. What is important now is to build on this in developing good neighbourly relations and to go the extra mile in resolving outstanding issues. Fighting must be brought to an end. It is clear that both Sudan and South Sudan will succeed and develop only if the other one is able to do so too. The EU and its Member States are keen to support you both in this.
We also commend the United Nations, the African Union, IGAD and other international partners for their support to the peace process in Sudan, particularly the outstanding roles played by President Mbeki, Prime Minister Meles and Haile Menkerios. The Assessment and Evaluation Commission too has played an important part.
It is therefore with great pleasure that I reiterate our congratulations to the Republic of South Sudan and our determination to support a peaceful and prosperous future for the peoples of the two Sudans, north and south.
It seems to me entirely appropriate that you have chosen the far-sighted Fish Eagle as your national crest and justice, liberty and prosperity as your national motto. Liberty you have already achieved. Justice you must hold on to. Prosperity will come.