Activities of Secretary-General in Sudan, South Sudan, 8-9 July

13 July 2011

Activities of Secretary-General in Sudan, South Sudan, 8-9 July

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo from Geneva early in the morning of Friday, 8 July.  After a brief overnight stay, the Secretary-General’s delegation departed to Khartoum, Sudan, where they arrived early on Friday afternoon.

The Secretary-General met with Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti, with whom he had a working lunch.

He told reporters afterwards that, while the people of North and South Sudan will soon live in different countries, their futures will continue to be closely linked.  He called on all Sudanese, from the North and South, to come together to shape their common future.

At the same time, the Secretary-General pointed to continuing challenges, including the violence in Southern Kordofan and the need for the parties to make the political compromises necessary to finally resolve the question of Abyei.

The Secretary-General then flew to Juba, where he would attend the independence ceremony of the new Republic of South Sudan the following day.

That evening, the Secretary-General, accompanied by the President of the General Assembly, Joseph Deiss, met with Salva Kiir Mayardit, President-elect of the Republic of South Sudan.  The Secretary-General later met with the press.

The Secretary-General also met with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea and Foreign Minister Mohamed Al-Orabi of Egypt, as well as with United Nations national staff and with a group of internally displaced persons from Kadugli.  The Secretary-General also checked on the bull that was a gift from President Kiir on a previous trip and which is cared for by peacekeepers.

He later attended an official dinner hosted by the Government of South Sudan for Heads of States and other dignitaries who were in Juba for the following day’s celebrations.

On Saturday morning, the Secretary-General met the United Nations country team and senior Mission management.  He also met a group of young staff members before he attended the independence ceremony of South Sudan at the John Garang Memorial site.  Speaking in Juba at the event, the Secretary-General said that the birth of this new nation marks the culmination of a long struggle and opens a new chapter: a day when the people of South Sudan claim their freedom and dignity that are their birthright.  (See Press Release SG/SM/13696)

He said that while we gather in celebration, we are mindful of the enormous challenges ahead: deep poverty, lack of basic infrastructure and institutions of Government, and also political insecurity.

The Secretary-General added that a viable South will need a viable North, and vice versa.  He called for South and North to declare, unequivocally, that they remain committed to addressing the unfinished business of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

The Secretary-General departed Juba on Saturday afternoon, and travelled back to New York via Addis Ababa and Dubai.  He arrived back in New York on Sunday morning.

For information media. Not an official record.