President Barack Obama announced today U.S. intent to recognize Southern Sudan. In a statement, the President said:
"On behalf of the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Southern Sudan for a successful and inspiring referendum in which an overwhelmingly majority of voters chose independence. I am therefore pleased to announce the intention of the United States to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011.
"After decades of conflict, the images of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world and another step forward in Africa's long journey toward justice and democracy. Now, all parties have a responsibility to ensure that this historic moment of promise becomes a moment of lasting progress. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement must be fully implemented and outstanding disputes must be resolved peacefully. At the same time, there must be an end to attacks on civilians in Darfur and a definitive end to that conflict.
"As I pledged in September when addressing Sudanese leaders, the United States will continue to support the aspirations of all Sudanese -- north and south, east and west. We will work with the governments of Sudan and Southern Sudan to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition to independence. For those who meet all of their obligations, there is a path to greater prosperity and normal relations with the United States, including examining Sudan's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. And while the road ahead will be difficult, those who seek a future of dignity and peace can be assured that they will have a steady partner and friend in the United States."The President's statement was released here on www.whitehouse.gov.