The Washington Times - July 9, 2012, 11:00AM

Mitt Romney on Monday commemorated the one-year anniversary of South Sudan’s independence by calling for humanitarian aid to the nation and its refugees from Sudan.

Despite its independence, South Sudan has continued to struggle with widespread poverty, internal violence and continuing border struggles with Sudan.

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In a statement, Mr. Romney commended the South Sudanese for the “heartbreaking sacrifices” they made in escaping their northern neighbor and acknowledged there is a long road ahead.

“I believe America must play a leadership role in this process and speak clearly on the ongoing atrocities of the regime in [Sudan’s capital city of] Khartoum and the resulting refugee crisis,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said.

South Sudan has been governed independently from Sudan since 2005, when a peace treaty ending the Second Sudanese Civil War established its autonomy and allowed for a 2011 referendum that certified the country’s official independence.