House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. House of Representatives
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman
CONTACT: Brad Goehner or Andeliz Castillo, (202) 226-8467, January 8, 2011
Alex Cruz, (202) 225-8200
For IMMEDIATE Release
Ros-Lehtinen Statement on South Sudan Referendum
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the referendum, beginning tomorrow, on independence for South Sudan:
“After more than two decades of war and five and a half years of a troubled transitional period, millions of Southern Sudanese will finally realize their fundamental right to determine their future. This referendum marks a pivotal moment in the history of Sudan, and could be a turning point toward achieving a lasting peace between the North and South.
“While we celebrate this opportunity, the administration of this referendum, regardless of its result, will not mark the end of the crisis in Sudan. The hardest work is yet to come.
“Following the referendum, through the remainder of the transition, and in the years to come, responsible nations must remain vigilant and ensure that all parties adhere to the commitments which they have made.
“The recent assaults in Darfur and the decision by the Sudanese regime to walk away from peace talks in Doha should serve as stark reminders of the nature of this regime. The regime in Khartoum has proven time and again that it will do anything to maintain its grip on power, even the perpetration of genocide.
“The U.S. and other responsible nations must not ease the pressure on the regime in Khartoum, or provide any concessions, until the result of the referendum in South Sudan is assured, peace has been achieved in Darfur and throughout Sudan, and the Sudanese regime poses no threat to its people, the U.S., or our vital security interests.”