Voices for Sudan Press Release

Contact: Ryan Brenner                                                                                                                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     Voices for Sudan

Cell phone: 202-360-9324                                                                                                    E-mail:info@voicesforsudan.org

SUDANESE DIASPORA OF VOICES FOR SUDAN: U.S. Must Maintain Leadership

Washington, DC (February 8, 2011) – The preliminary ballot count in South Sudan  revealed last week that over 99.57% of Southern Sudanese voted for secession from North Sudan.  The Washington, D.C.-based Sudan advocacy umbrella organization, Voices for Sudan (VFS), celebrates with the South the success of this largely peaceful referendum.  Diverse Diaspora of the Sudanese coalition are also taking this opportunity to remind the United States government and the world that even as South Sudan faces exciting new state-building challenges, the marginalized regions of Darfur, Southern Kordofan, Nubia, and the Eastern provinces left behind in the North must not be forgotten.  Diaspora from all regions of Sudan are asserting that is more important than ever for the United States to adopt an inclusive and comprehensive policy toward Sudan that addresses all on-going conflicts in Sudan.

VFS urges the U.S. to remain firm in ensuring that Sudan upholds the full implementation of the CPA, which remains in the best interests of the Sudanese people. State Voices for Sudan President, Jimmy Mulla, “It would be premature for the United States to compensate the government of Sudan by lifting sanctions or normalizing relations in exchange for successful implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The government of Sudan agreed upon its terms in 2005; thus, it should not be used as leverage.” Full implementation includes resolving the outstanding issues of citizenship, oil-sharing, border demarcation, and the status of the contested Abyei region. Another area for concern includes the Popular Consultations in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, which must be free and fair.

VFS urges the U.S. to take greater steps to uphold its three declared priority policy areas in Sudan: successful implementation of the CPA, anti-terrorism initiatives, and ending conflict in Darfur. In particular, VFS expresses concern that the U.S. has made little if any progress to put an end to the conflict in Darfur.  Violence in region has greatly escalated in the recent months, claiming at least 2,300 lives in 2010, according to a recent UN report. In addition, the conflict displaced 40,000 civilians in the last few weeks of December via government aerial attacks on villages and clashes between rebel groups and the Sudanese armed forces. Peacekeeping forces must have access to these conflict areas. Voices for Sudan commends Ambassador Susan Rice for, as she states, “pressing for months for UNAMID to fulfill the letter and spirit of its mandate by ensuring that it is not finding itself negotiating questions of access, but ensuring that (it has the) access it is due.”  Additionally, VFS continues to emphasize the need to develop a Comprehensive Peace Agreement for Darfur, which will offer a road-map for sustainable peace in the region.

States Mulla, “This is a critical time for Sudan. We will make much greater strides if the United States government continues to show strong presidential leadership on these issues. The Obama Administration must strive to maintain momentum in its efforts to promote a country-wide approach to peace and stability in all of Sudan.”
About Voices for Sudan: Voices for Sudan is a U.S.-based coalition of a diverse network of Sudan-led organizations in the Diaspora dedicated to resolving the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. VFS envisions a modern Sudan at peace with itself and its neighbors, where human rights are protected by the government and where sustainable economic development can flourish.

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For more information, please go to:  http://www.voicesforsudan.org/.  To schedule an interview with Voices for Sudan, please call Ryan Brenner at 202-360-9324, or e-mail info@voicesforsudan.org.

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