News / Africa

US Ambassador Prepares 'Bittersweet' Departure from South Sudan

  • A selection of photos from U.S. Ambassador Susan Page's three years in South Sudan.
  • U. S. Ambassador Susan Page gives a speech at the launch of the new Voice of America radio transmitter in Juba, South Sudan, on March 21, 2013. Page stressed the importance of freedom of the press in new democracies in her speech. (VOA/Jill Craig)
  • U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan Susan Page speaks at the launch of the Voice of America transmitter in Juba on Thursday, March 21, 2013. (VOA/Jill Craig)
  • U.S. Ambassador of South Sudan Susan Page, second from left, and South Sudan Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial, greet Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on her first visit to South Sudan, August 3, 2012, at Juba International Airport in Juba.
  • Sgt. Andrew Rodriguez (C), a team leader with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response, leads the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of South Sudan, Susan D. Page (2nd L), down the flight line during an evacuation of U.S. personnel from Juba in Dec. 2013.
  • U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page, speaks to John Tanza at the State Department on Thursday, March 13, 2014.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Page Leaves South Sudan

When U.S. Ambassador Susan Page arrived in South Sudan in 2011, the world's newest nation was celebrating its hard-fought independence and the world shared the hopes of the South Sudanese people for a bright future.

"Everyone was optimistic. It was vibrant and just lively," Page told South Sudan in Focus Managing Editor John Tanza in an interview Friday.

Three years later, as Page leaves her post as the first U.S. ambassador to South Sudan, the country has fallen back into war, more than 1.5 million people have been forced from their homes and nearly four million face severe food insecurity.

"It's really a bittersweet departure," Page said.

"It's really sad to see what's happening now, where the country is mired in conflict" and seven months of talks to end the fighting have delivered little of substance to help relieve the suffering of the people of South Sudan, Page said.

"We can only hope that the leaders will take charge and realize what they must do to save their own country and rescue the people of South Sudan," she said.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Page: "Bittersweet departure" from South Sudan
U.S. Ambassador Susan Page: "Bittersweet departure" from South Sudani
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Page urged the world to be patient with South Sudan, saying the young nation faces numerous challenges as it builds its identity.

Susan Page on South Sudan's challenges
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"It's not possible to do everything overnight," she said, noting that even the United States faced severe setbacks as it built its democracy in the 18th and 19th century, and fell into civil war nearly a century after its birth.

"It's taken us a long time and we shouldn't expect everything to be smooth sailing in the beginning" for South Sudan, Page said.

Susan Page: Democracy-building not smooth sailing from beginning
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Remembering South Sudan's vibrance

Page said she will remember South Sudan as "a place that is vibrant with colors," and its people as warm and welcoming.

"There are times ... where I've eaten beautiful, fresh, ripe mangoes or seen the markets running, where I've seen the migration occurring peacefully," and people of different backgrounds "getting along," she said.

Susan Page: "South Sudan will always remain with me."
Susan Page: "South Sudan will always remain with me."i
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Page noted that although she will no longer be in South Sudan, the country will continue to play a large role in her life. Page has been appointed senior advisor in the office of U.S. Special Envoy to South Sudan and Sudan, Donald Booth. She hopes to use her new position to "push a lot of issues that have taken a back seat, especially now with the crisis going on," she said.

As for regrets, she's had a few, Page says. She would have liked to travel more extensively in the country, and was saddened when, at the beginning of the conflict, she had to oversee the evacuation from Juba of most of the U.S. embassy staff.

"I would love to see all our people back because there's so much we can do, especially in this time of crisis," she said. 

"We've increased our funding markedly but don't have the people to do all of the work that is required. I have those regrets, but overall I've done quite a lot for the embassy and the best I could for the people of South Sudan."

Susan Page: Of course, there are regrets
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by: Kuch from: Bor
August 25, 2014 1:51 AM
There is no country that the South Sudanese people valued highly than the US, but unfortunately, the US usual game of creating chaos and turns around as a saviour has had some South Sudanese in the know check their heads in disbelieve!

A white friend of mine from Europe told me right after Riek Machar's failed coup attempt and his eventual tribal armed rebellion that ensued; that you South Sudanese people are very naïve indeed. He went on further and said "the US considers every other countries it 51st state, including European countries!"

I laughed at my European friend. I studied civil engineering with him at the university and we used to dabble at the university's politics and all those nonsenses in between; but my European friend was a straight talker.

He just didn't like the US bullying just as I were. But after all, the US bullying happened to come where I was born, South Sudan----and I told him that, yes are always naïve in South Sudan and that is why everybody always take advantage over us, but we wanted an ally as your country is a US ally.

The US has gone out of touch with the world's modern's realities, It has messes up every damn country in the world, be they developed, developing or even a three years' old country like South Sudan and it continues to claim moral superiority over everybody else, damn it!

Well, the US may claim moral superiority in terrorising other countries and subverting their governance as far as the people who are taught to think for themselves a cross the globe understand.

The US has built its economy on the perpetuation of wars and use of puns like SOCIALIALISM/SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISM/COMMUNISTS and these days, the 'word' FIGHTING TERRORISM has been added into the America's empire PUN---- when in truth; the US is the most TERRORISM exporter of all countries, with gulf arab states of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel and white South African!

Great example here are: Libya and now the ISIS/ISIL it is now bombing the hell out them in Iraq, while the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar armed them against the Syrian government and its innocent people, can you see?

Now Libya is precariously leaning to be a failed state like South Sudan; but South Sudan problem would be resolved though, because South Sudanese people, when they realise their latent enemy.

Then they join themselves like chains and say NO!

Back to the US aversion to the words like: SOCIALISM/SOCIALISTS, COMMUNISM/COMMUNISTS versus their so-called CAPITALISM/CAPITALISTS; I for one, I have never had anyone from the US or the UK; be they celebrities or anyone who just want to do the right thing to his/her people ever said; that I want to "give back to the CAPITALISM" They probably always said it to their BANKERS at a hush tone though, but as far as I know and did a little bit of googling; I did find few CELEBRITIES saying that they are giving back to the CAPITALISM!

But all I always hear is that I want to "GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY" to which the word COMMUNISM got its origin from, in a LITERAL term anyway.

Human beings are SOCIAL beings and they live in SOCIETIES to which the word SOCIALISM got its origin from in LITERAL term also just the same as COMMUNISM I mentioned early.

But LATERALLY, the US has for a long time milked COMMUNISM/SOCIALISM versus CAPITALISM for its own end and its lowly educated populous always buy these bullsh*ts.

If the US is that averse to COMMUNITIES and the SOCIETIES; then why does it still here on EARTH and not on MARS where we don't even know if at all their exist, the CAPITALISM/CAPITALIST people?!


by: Noel Barnaba from: Juba
August 24, 2014 8:40 AM
Ambassador Page is a great and noble friend of South Sudan. Thank you so much for all you have done to our cause and people. I hope you can always come back to visit your people when there is calm and peace in the country. Best of luck with your new assignment and God bless you abundantly!


by: Ali Mansour from: Fort Worth TX
August 24, 2014 7:50 AM
Thank you page , The right leader for this nation unborn yet .our leaders indulge in evils acts leaving this nation hovering in melancholy .shall your words gets ears to hear.


by: Nipee from: Paris
August 23, 2014 3:50 PM
We love our truly friend who stand with us in hardship even if we are in darkness! Our generation am in and all people of South Sudan will never forget Ambassador Page and President Bush for their much contribution to out feature we are in which destroyed by Riak Machar. ...
God bless South Sudan and our friend


by: Guet Athian Guet from: USA
August 23, 2014 1:08 PM
When it comes to African affairs the American administration, including Susan Page are all inept.
Susan Page should have done home work, Machar is serial killer dated back to 1991 ... When he tried a coup against Dr. Garang went he failed Machar went on rampage of killing almost 30.000 Dinkas, most were women, children and the old.

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