On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, we extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the third anniversary of their country's independence.
Three years ago I witnessed the people of South Sudan vote to forge a new nation, founded on the promise of a more peaceful and prosperous future for all of South Sudan's people.
Now that promise for which the people of South Sudan suffered and sacrificed so much is being threatened by the current conflict. Too much blood has been spilled, and too many lives have been lost, to allow South Sudan's moment of hope and opportunity to slip from its grasp. As I told President Kiir when I visited South Sudan on May 2 of this year, and have discussed with President Kiir and Riek Machar in numerous phone conversations, it is high time to honor fully the Cessation of Hostilities agreement of January 23 to end the violence, especially the violence being targeted against civilians. The people of South Sudan need their leaders to use the Intergovernmental Authority on Development peace process to end the conflict and establish a transitional government that can ensure stability, prosperity, and peace for all. Now is the time for South Sudan's leaders to show courage and leadership, and to reaffirm their commitment to unity, to reconciliation and accountability, and to a better future for the people of South Sudan.
The United States remains committed to supporting the people of South Sudan during this time of incredible difficulty, and continuing to lead the international response to the looming humanitarian and refugee crisis. Looking forward, the United States will continue to be a steadfast partner to the South Sudanese people in support of their efforts to achieve a more peaceful and prosperous future for their young country.