On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became an independent, sovereign state. President Barack Obama announced the United States' formal recognition of South Sudan and said:
"Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people. The eyes of the world are on the Republic of South Sudan. And we know that southern Sudanese have claimed their sovereignty, and shown that neither their dignity nor their dream of self-determination can be denied.
"This historic achievement is a tribute, above all, to the generations of southern Sudanese who struggled for this day. It is also a tribute to the support that has been shown for Sudan and South Sudan by so many friends and partners around the world. Sudan's African neighbors and the African Union played an essential part in making this day a reality. And along with our many international and civil society partners, the United States has been proud to play a leadership role across two Administrations. Many Americans have been deeply moved by the aspirations of the Sudanese people, and support for South Sudan extends across different races, regions, and political persuasions in the United States. I am confident that the bonds of friendship between South Sudan and the United States will only deepen in the years to come. As Southern Sudanese undertake the hard work of building their new country, the United States pledges our partnership as they seek the security, development and responsive governance that can fulfill their aspirations and respect their human rights."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton joined President Obama in congratulating the people of the Republic of South Sudan. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice led a Presidential Delegation to attend the Independence Day ceremony in South Sudan, and U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Ambassador Princeton Lyman reflected on lessons learned at the negotiating table. In an Op-Ed for the Washington Post, Secretary Clinton wrote:
"This weekend, in Juba, South Sudan, Africa's 54th nation was born. Millions of people are celebrating a new national identity and new national promise. Like on our own July Independence Day 235 years ago, there is reason to hope for a better future -- if the people and leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan commit themselves to the hard work ahead.
"This day was far from inevitable. For more than two decades, Sudan has been riven by intense fighting over land and resources. Just a year ago, talks between the Sudanese government in the north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement in the south had stalled. Preparations for a referendum on southern independence had fallen behind. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 appeared close to collapse. A return to open conflict seemed likely. Thankfully, people on both sides and across the world worked together to chart a different path."
Earlier in the week, American citizens around the world celebrated U.S. Independence Day on July 4. Colleagues at U.S. diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, Micronesia, New Zealand, Senegal, and Zimbabwe shared how they commemorated the United States' 235th birthday.
In other news, the United States responded to the drought in the Horn of Africa, supported efforts to advance citizen security in Central America, and continued discussions on law enforcement and counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan.
U.S. Embassy Islamabad Acting Spokesperson Courtney Beale shared why she volunteered to serve in Pakistan and spotlighted U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) efforts to help Pakistani farmers boost mango exports.
USAID Administrator Raj Shah held a conversation with youth on international development, while Under Secretary Maria Otero fielded questions on the Open Government Partnership. Assistant Secretary Esther Brimmer announced the UNESCO Youth Forum finalists.
Young people were front and center at "TechCamp: Vilnius," and will play an important role at "TechCamp: Moldova." Secretary Clinton announced the TechGirls initiative and honored TechWomen participants, who hail from the Middle East and North Africa.
Secretary Clinton also remembered First Lady Betty Ford. In a statement on the passing of the former First Lady, President and Secretary Clinton said:
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of First Lady Betty Ford. As a staunch advocate for women's and equal rights, Betty paved the way for generations of women to follow. Her courage, compassion, and commitment to helping our nation deal with drug and alcohol abuse and addiction helped thousands of people to a successful recovery and in the process she helped to save countless families. We were honored to host President and Mrs. Ford at the White House in 1998 when they received the Congressional Gold Medal for their dedication and service to our nation.
"Betty was a remarkable woman whose legacy will live on in people around the country whose lives are longer and better because of her work. Our thoughts and prayers are with her children and grandchildren. We are grateful for her contributions, and for her kindness to us. We will miss her."