J. Scott Gration
Special Envoy for Sudan
Khartoum, Sudan
April 2, 2009

Thank you very much. It is a real honor for me to be here in Sudan and to have this privilege to have this first looking and listening tour. The objective of this trip is to look, listen, and learn. I am coming here with no illusions, with no preconceived ideas, and no solutions.

And this morning I had my first meeting where I got insights into the issues, into the challenges, and into the way ahead. And I will continue today to have more of these kinds of meetings and I will have an opportunity to travel to Darfur, to southern Sudan - to Juba. We may have an opportunity to see some other locations down where are points that have to be negotiated and resolved as we fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The United States and Sudan want to be partners and so we are looking for opportunities for us to build a stronger bilateral relationship. And I come here with my hands open and it will be up to the Sudanese government to determine how they want to continue with that relationship, hopefully it will be with a hand of friendship, hand of cooperation, and one that we can move ahead, because like all my American colleagues “ana ahib Sudan” [I love Sudan.]

Thank you very much.