ADMINISTRATOR POWER: Hello everyone. Thank you so much Under Secretary DiCarlo. Great to see you. I want to thank Secretary-General Guterres and Minister Søreide for hosting this important and truly timely conversation. I also want to thank Prime Minister Hamdok for his leadership in lighting what he calls “The Way Forward” for Sudan’s hopeful, yet fragile, transition to democracy. Hopeful, yet fragile.
I had the chance to visit Sudan in August, and everywhere I traveled in the country, those words seemed to describe the mood. A country I had only known as a place scarred by war and dictatorship, was teeming with hope, but its people of course - clear eyed about just how difficult the road ahead is.
I visited the Zam Zam IDP camp in Darfur and spoke to women who had actually pulled their resources in order to pay to travel to Khartoum in order to join the protests against the Bashir government. They had nothing -- and yet being a part of those protests meant so much to them. And they described a sense of freedom, as if they, I think the way they put it was that they had felt as if they were living in a hole, and now suddenly with Bashir out of power it felt so, so different. But their faces turned weary when they spoke about the violence that still plagues parts of Darfur, as the Juba Peace Agreement has yet to be fully implemented.
In El Fashir, I met with an ambitious new civilian governor, who urged the international community to “think bigger” and see Sudan as a country in need of good governance and strong civil society, not just a country to be a recipient of humanitarian aid. But as I talked to him, he struggled to prioritize how to respond to so many economic and security issues that are facing the people he represented. Food, water, electricity, schools, agriculture, jobs, homes for those displaced persons who had lost them. Where to start? Where to concentrate? Hugely challenging.
In Khartoum, when I had the privilege of seeing Prime Minister Hamdok and his team, I also met several young men and women activists who spoke proudly about the risks they took to usher in Sudan’s revolution. Including - I got to meet Alaa Salah, who gained world-wide attention from a picture of her taken during the revolution. She became known as "LadyLiberty" of Sudan or the "Woman in White". She and the other activists spoke with such pride about their role in ushering in this transition - but also with great concern about the need for accountability. And concern that at any moment, the prospect of a truly democratic Sudan might be snatched away.
And of course, there are reasons to worry in the shadow of a failed coup, it is undeniable that not every person in Sudan is committed to this free, civilian-led, peaceful country.
But it is what the vast majority of Sudanese have longed for, for such a long time, it is what all of us gathered today want to do everything in our power to support.
For our part, the U.S. has committed an additional $700 million dollars in development assistance. We are working very closely with the government and our civil society partners to expand USAID programming, to help the country strengthen its health system, develop its agricultural potential, tackle corruption, weather the difficult downsides of putting in place the economic reforms, the near term shocks to the system, through social safety net programs with the World Bank and others, and working with the government to support it as it attempts to bring security forces under civilian control.
All of us across the international system, have to do everything we can to honor the sacrifices of the Sudanese people, and help shepherd Sudan through this incredibly hopeful, but also fragile transition to democracy.
Thank you, so, so much.