* Mr. GARRETT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the Republic of South Sudan and their declaration of formal independence on July 9, 2011. Six months ago, the people of Southern Sudan spoke clearly when nearly 99 percent of the voters declared independence from the repressive government in Khartoum. While this is a historic moment for southern Sudan and its people, this nation faces great challenges in the infancy of its sovereignty.
* For the Republic of South Sudan to prosper, a number of challenges must be overcome. Foremost, the country must determine questions as fundamental as citizenship rights and the location of borders with neighboring nations. Additionally, Southern Sudan must establish peace and security within its borders in order to sustain meaningful growth. North Sudanese governmental support for attacks on Southern Sudan have killed more than 1,000 civilians, and have displaced hundreds of thousands of men, women and children over the past year and a half. Simply put, these attacks must cease.
* In terms of the economy, international agreements regarding Southern Sudan's debts must be negotiated, as well as the development of an infrastructure to allow for the efficient export of oil. However, even in these challenging and uncertain times, this young nation has demonstrated a commitment to improve the lives of its citizens. Recently, we have observed marked increases in commerce and trade, both domestically and internationally, thanks to the government's continued development of modern infrastructure. The ruling government has reached out to opposition groups within Southern Sudan in an honest effort to maintain national unity throughout this momentous process. While there are still hurdles to be overcome, today I recognize and congratulate the Sudanese people for their significant accomplishments in having reached this momentous occasion.