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Libyan Newswire

Speeches: Intervention for South Sudan Pledging Event

Date: 02/09/2015 Description: Assistant Secretary Anne Richard delivers remarks in Nairobi, Kenya. - State Dept ImageGood afternoon. I would like to thank the chairs of this meeting for bringing us together in Nairobi to address the ongoing, manmade humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. Thank you also to Minister Amina Mohamed for the welcome, to Toby Lanzer for the very powerful video, and to Forest Whitaker for his personal efforts to help. The American delegation is proud of your very genuine interest and your presence here today.

As Valerie Amos knows very well, we currently face a long list of global disasters, conflicts, and disease outbreaks. Yet none fills us with as much frustration and despair as the crisis in South Sudan. Why? Because this crisis should never have happened.

The warring parties share the full responsibility for the violence that has engulfed much of the country and for the suffering of their fellow South Sudanese. We call on all parties to the conflict to end the fighting. Now.

We are disappointed and dismayed that the government and opposition failed to reach a meaningful agreement during the latest negotiations at the African Union Summit. Although the parties pledged to resume talks in late February, that is already too late for the people of South Sudan. And even as we seek to save lives and ease suffering while demanding a peaceful resolution, it is already clear that the conflict will have long-term effects on livelihoods, food security, and South Sudanese institutions.

The United States and other donors are here to try to help the people of South Sudan, who continue to suffer and die unnecessarily, because their leaders have been unwilling to do what it takes to restore peace to their country.

South Sudan is the most food insecure country in the world with parts of the country teetering on the brink of famine. Nearly half of the people in the states most affected by conflict face Crisis and Emergency levels of food security. In areas ravaged by violence, farmers cannot plant or harvest their crops.

Over 500,000 South Sudanese are now living as refugees here in Kenya and in Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. The willingness of these countries to take them in has saved many lives.

Aid workers are doing all they can to help millions of people. Their efforts, supported by the U.S. Government, other governments and aid donors, have helped stave off famine, saved lives and provided food, shelter, safe drinking water, health care and psychological support. But resources are limited and many victims of South Sudan’s violence are struggling – living in terrible conditions and hardship.

The United Nations and IGAD were right to call us to this important event to highlight urgent humanitarian needs and to keep our attention focused on the plight of the South Sudanese people.

To underscore the U.S. government’s longstanding commitment to the people of South Sudan, I am announcing today that my government is providing an additional $273 million in humanitarian assistance for those uprooted and imperiled by the conflict in South Sudan.

With this additional contribution, U.S. assistance to the people affected by this crisis – inside South Sudan and in neighboring countries – has reached nearly $1 billion. Imagine if that kind of money had been spent on developing the new nation of South Sudan. Instead we are simply seeking to keep people alive, too often in miserable conditions.

The programs these new funds support will be implemented by neutral and impartial UN agencies, and other international and non-governmental organizations.

The additional money is needed because, as we have heard from so many already this afternoon, the situation and the needs are dire.

Our commitment to the people of South Sudan remains steadfast, but we know that aid alone cannot address the underlying political problems that are preventing peace and stability. This aid can only be effective if South Sudan’s leaders end their intransigence and promote the wellbeing of their people, rather than their own rivalries and political machinations.

We share the vision and ardent hopes of South Sudan’s people for a peaceful, unified, democratic state. They have suffered too much and deserve, at last to have their rights protected and to live free of fear and violence.