Special Briefing
Scott Gration
Special Envoy to Sudan
Johnnie Carson
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President/Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs
Foreign Press Center
Washington, DC
October 22, 2010


Date: 10/22/2010 Location: Washington D.C. Description: Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs (left); Maj. Gen. (Ret) J. Scott Gration, U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan (middle); and Amb. Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs hold a panel discussion on Sudan at the Washington Foreign Press Center on October 22, 2010. - State Dept Image

Special Envoy Scott Gration, Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, and National Security Council Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs Samantha Power participated in a special briefing at the Washington Foreign Press Center this morning to highlight U.S. diplomatic efforts on Sudan. During his remarks, Special Envoy Gration highlighted the actions that the parties need to take to ensure that peaceful referenda that reflect the will of the Sudanese people take place on time in January. Click here for a chart showing the status of progress for the referendum.

We will post a full transcript from the event as soon as it becomes available.

Key points:

SPECIAL ENVOY GRATION:

  • President Obama has made it clear that Sudan is one of the Administration’s priorities; it has a vision of hope, peace and prosperity for the people of Sudan.
  • The Abyei issue needs to be decided as part of a broader set of issues.
  • The U.S. will participate in the round of talks that Thabo Mbeki will convene at the end of the month.
  • The U.S. will watch the Government of Sudan to help ensure that the funds will be transferred to enable the referendum to take place, and that security will be sufficient.
  • The U.S. continues to support the Doha Process and U.N. efforts in the region.
  • The U.S. calls upon all armed movements to engage in peaceful negotiations.
  • We are committed to on-time referenda in both Abyei and southern Sudan and will hold the parties to that. The parties themselves are responsible for reaching an agreement that works for both sides.
  • We want to make sure that the southern in the north and the northerners in the south have protection. It’s up to the parties to come up with a way to prevent unrest. We are holding the parties accountable. Both the north and the south have assured us that these individuals will be taken care of. In the end it’s up to the parties to make sure their people are protected.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON:

  • The U.S. has intensified its diplomatic efforts in this make-or-break period. The USG has double its official diplomatic presence in Sudan. Amb. Barry Walkley will lead the mission in Juba; Amb. Princeton Lyman will facilitate talks on CPA and post-CPA issues. USAID continues to work on a wide range of initiatives.
  • We are now in a second phase of diplomatic expansion for a more robust presence in the provincial capitals. This virtually triples our presence in Sudan.
  • Regional leaders have a central role in the implementation of the CPA. The U.S. has been in close contact with Uganda’s Museveni, Ethiopia’s Zenawi, Kenya’s Odinga, and chair of the Pan-African Union Jean Ping.
  • The parties must come prepared to compromise and make tough decisions on Abyei and other issues.
  • It is possible to have an independent southern state that lives in peace with a northern state that is largely Islamic. We see today examples in East Africa where Muslims and Christians live peacefully with and next to each other.
  • The strategy we’re pursuing provides a path toward a more normal relationship with the government of Khartoum.
  • We have put incentives on the table to reflect our desire that negotiations move ahead positively.

SR. DIRECTOR POWER:

  • There is international unity around two points:
    • (1) The referenda must go off on time and reflect the will of the people of South Sudan;
    • (2) the results of the referenda must be recognized
  • It’s impossible to overstate the importance of this issue at the White House. The President has encouraged officials to do full-court press on the issue. President Obama gets daily briefings on Sudan. All high-level officials have been enlisted to convince the government of Sudan to recognize the results of the referenda.
  • The U.S. is also coordinating with Norway to help provide Sudan with advice on oil revenue sharing and with the UK for input on debt relief.
  • Gen. Gration and his team have been able to hold the Sudan-Chad conflict at bay, which has allowed us to intensify our focus on the CPA and Darfur.