Juba, 9 July 2013

Your Excellency, President Salva Kiir Mayardit;

Excellencies, Heads of State and Government;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

On behalf of the people of Rwanda, and on my own behalf, I would like to express our sincere congratulations to you, Mr President, and the people of South Sudan on this auspicious occasion of your independence anniversary. May I also take this opportunity to thank you also for inviting us to be part of this happy and historic moment.

We recall with you the long and protracted struggle for freedom, sovereignty, self-determination and dignity of your people that culminated in your independence two years ago. Since then, you have worked tirelessly to build your nation and to realize the aspirations of the people of South Sudan.

We salute your efforts and I assure you that the Rwandan people stand with you in this arduous task of nation building.


Mr President;

· We all recognize that independence brings enormous benefits which we are very happy to enjoy. In this respect, the independence of South Sudan is bound to contribute to peace, security and development in the region and Africa as a whole. It has also given us the opportunity to advance our agenda for regional integration as part of a continent-wide drive for greater unity and socio-economic transformation.

· Independence also comes with opportunities which we must seize in order to propel our countries forward. We all understand that our destiny as Africans is tied together and the future of our continent will be assured by the way we closely work and even think together to advance and protect our common interests.

· That is why, in an increasingly global environment, we must constantly strive to build our collective strength that comes from combined effort and avoid the dangers of divided action.

· This is the reason why we should encourage greater intra-African trade and investment, build more intra-African infrastructure and create larger economic blocs.

Mr President;

While addressing your people last year on the first anniversary of your independence, you rightly called on them to work together to make things better. You said, and I quote, “We are not a people who fear the night and hide. We know that no matter how long the night is, morning will always come.”

Rwandans do not only share with the people of South Sudan this philosophy, but also a history of struggle for liberation, as well as a vision of greater freedom and prosperity for our peoples. This entails that we have to learn from each other and share experiences of our recent past and work together to forge a future that is beneficial to all of us.

We are very pleased to cement the good relations that already exist between our two countries and we look forward to continued bilateral cooperation so that we promote further economic, political and social development of our two countries. This way, we can be with you as you write the rest of the story for South Sudan.

Finally, I would like to congratulate you again, and to express our best wishes for peace and prosperity of the Republic of South Sudan and continued progress of the region and Africa.