U.S. Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, made the following statement today after the announcement from Addis Ababa that Sudan and South Sudan have signed an agreement on several of the most contentious issues between the newly divided countries.
"It appears that Sudan and South Sudan have reached what we all hope is a genuine breakthrough on a number of critical issues, including oil and security arrangements, and that is a major step forward in the region. If this agreement is implemented, it will put these countries back on the path to peace and restore vital economic lifelines. The history of Sudan is littered with the paper of previous agreements that were never put into action, but as we saw with the 2011 referendum and the South's peaceful separation, real progress is possible when both sides are committed to peace and necessary compromise. This agreement must now be translated into action and the remaining issues resolved. The status of Abyei needs to be addressed, a political solution for the conflicts raging within Sudan needs to be found, and humanitarian access in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile must be provided soon. President Mbeki deserves credit for bringing the parties to this point and encouraging leaders on both sides to make the compromises needed to make this happen. The United States must continue to work to help secure true peace in the Sudans."