Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton introduced Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman as the new U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan at the Department of State on March 31, 2011. In a statement announcing this appointment, President Barack Obama said, "...Just as the United States depended on his diplomatic skills to help support the peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy when he was U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, I am confident that Ambassador Lyman's deep knowledge of the African continent will advance U.S. interests and the aspirations of the Sudanese people during this time of transformative change in Sudan."
In her remarks, Secretary Clinton said, "Ambassador Lyman is taking over the helm of our important work as the special envoy to Sudan from another very dedicated public servant, Scott Gration. And Scott has been instrumental to our work in Sudan over the last two years. We are absolutely delighted that the President has nominated him to be our next Ambassador to Kenya, and we will continue to rely on his passion and skills for the people of the region, and we thank you for your service.
"This is a critical moment in Sudan's history. Two months ago, in a peaceful display of democratic values, the people of Southern Sudan expressed their clear unequivocal choice. They want to live in a free, independent country, and now we look forward to a peaceful separation of these two states in July. The Government of Sudan played an important role by creating the conditions that allowed voters to express their will without fear, intimidation, or coercion. And since the vote, the government has continued to move this process forward with the same spirit of cooperation.
"But as Princeton and I were just discussing with Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, who's been our partner in this endeavor, there is still so much work to be done and so much in the way of challenges that lie ahead. One of the most important tasks is to end the conflict in Darfur and to alleviate, and hopefully end, the suffering of its people. I continue to call on all parties to come together immediately to reach a peaceful solution. To do this, all parties should join the peace process in Doha. The Liberation and Justice Movement, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Government of Sudan must engage in direct face-to-face negotiations and reach a settlement that includes a ceasefire.
"Now is the time for meaningful dialogue that produces concrete results. The United States is committed to working with the international community to bring all parties together, to end the suffering and conflict, and forge a lasting peace that will contribute to the better days ahead for the people of both the North and the South.
"We are also concerned about the dangerous standoff in the Abyei region of Sudan. We call on both sides to take immediate steps to prevent future attacks and restore calm. Violence is simply unacceptable. The deployment of forces by both sides is in violation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and undermines the goodwill from January's referendum, which was a very important foundation for the peaceful future of Sudan. Before July's deadline, as outlined by the CPA, both sides must reach an agreement on Abyei that meets the needs of all communities in the region and is consistent with the CPA's Abyei protocol.
"The United States is committed to the peace, security, and prosperity of both the North and the South, which is why the President has chosen Ambassador Lyman for this important job. His experience as U.S. Ambassador during South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy will prove invaluable during the next few months. His diplomatic skills were on display during the mediation talks between the North and South, and he is well positioned to advise the Sudanese people at this critical juncture. With Princeton guiding our efforts, the United States will continue to support both sides as they work to fulfill the CPA and make the transition to independence. In this new role, Ambassador Lyman will help the Sudanese people make good on the work they've already accomplished.
"Now, we understand the peaceful separation of these two states will be difficult, but we believe there is a clear path to a stronger, more stable, and peaceful future. I know that Princeton is really so committed to this, ready to go. He has the confidence of both President Obama and myself, he's got a great team that will be backing him up and working with him, and we just want to thank you for taking on yet another challenge that is important not only to the people of Sudan, but to the United States as well."
Following his introduction as the new Special Envoy, Ambassador Lyman said:
"Madam Secretary, thank you so very, very much. The support that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have given to this process has been extraordinary and sustained, and with all that's on your plate I don't know how you do it. But we have worked so hard in this Administration and so many people to keep Sudan from falling back into civil war, where millions of people die, and to achieve a peaceful outcome. I'm very grateful to you and to the President for the privilege of taking on this position.
"I also want to pay tribute to Scott Gration, who put so much of himself, his heart and soul, into this process for the last two-plus years. And Scott, thank you for everything you've done.
"We only have 100 days before July 9th, when the South is to become fully independent. They have a lot of tough issues to negotiate. This -- these are going to be hard negotiations, they're going to be tough, there's going to be fights about this and that and the other thing. But the parties are engaged. I leave Saturday for meetings in both Ethiopia and Sudan, where the parties are engaged in a whole range of these issues. I agree with you that Abyei will be one of the tough issues to resolve, and we're working very closely with our partners, the African Union, the British, the Norwegians, and many others, to help the parties reach that agreement.
"We're also deeply concerned, as you said, about Darfur, about the continuing problems of violence there, the many, many, almost 2 million people who have been displaced and who are still living in camps. I'm delighted, relieved, that Ambassador Dane Smith continues to be our point person on Darfur, providing a great deal of energy, leadership, knowledge, and experience. He leaves next week to join the negotiations in Doha, which have taken on new life and have new promise, and we're going to make an intensive effort there to see if that agreement can be reached, which opens the doors for more peace in Darfur."