Today, President Obama and I met to discuss the way ahead on North-South issues and also Darfur. The President made clear that we have his full support and confidence, and reaffirmed his commitment to fully implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to reaching a definitive end to conflict and human rights abuses in Darfur. I am grateful for his leadership and for the sustained commitment that he and Secretary Clinton have demonstrated throughout the course of our intensified diplomatic and development engagement in Sudan. I promised to keep him fully informed on our work in both Washington and the field.
Tomorrow, I depart for Ethiopia and Sudan to support Sudanese leaders as they work to reach agreement on arrangements that will define the future relationship between North and South. With only 99 days until South Sudan emerges as an independent state, this is a critical period in Sudan's history. The decisions made in the coming months by the leadership on both sides will have profound implications for the people of Sudan, East Africa, and the world.
The coming weeks will involve tough negotiations -- but I have every confidence that by drawing on the spirit of cooperation that led to a peaceful Southern Sudan referendum, the parties can create the conditions required to ensure a peaceful transition to two separate, viable states living at peace with each other. President Bashir and First Vice President Kiir must demonstrate the political courage to finalize key post-referendum arrangements, including security and economic issues, Abyei, citizenship, and border demarcation, among others, prior to July.
Recent developments in the Doha talks on Darfur show new promise, and Ambassador Dane Smith will travel to Qatar next week to encourage the parties to reach a political settlement that includes an immediate ceasefire. The Darfuri people have suffered too long -- and as Secretary Clinton said yesterday, the Liberation and Justice Movement, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Government of Sudan must engage in direct negotiations and translate that dialogue into concrete improvements in the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur.
As we work to positively shape this period of transformative change for Sudan, we are grateful for the sustained commitment of our many partners and allies -- other states, regional and multilateral organizations, NGOs, and advocacy groups alike. I have had the opportunity to meet with many of you this week -- and look forward to future opportunities to keep all of our stakeholders apprised of our sustained efforts to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous future for all Sudanese.