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World embraces independent South Sudan

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 July 2011 07:22 No Comment]

South Sudan’s declaration of independence on Saturday, marking the end of a half century of struggle for self-determination, has been followed by formal recognition by governments around the world. The five members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China- along with India and South Africa, were the first amongst many countries. The very first state to recognise South Sudan was Sudan itself. In a statement President Obama said "A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realised by so many millions of people." Saturday’s ceremony was attended by leaders or senior representatives of dozens of countries as well as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

The ceremony, in front of tens of thousands of cheering South Sudanese, took place at the mausoleum of John Garang, the late commander of the SPLA, who is considered the father of the South Sudanese nation.

The new President, Salva Kiir, signed a transitional constitution and took the oath of office.

“We were bombed, maimed, enslaved, treated worse than a refugee in our own country, but we have to forgive, although we will not forget,” President Kiir said in his historic speech.

The United States was represented at Saturday’s ceremony by Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. Retired US General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell was also present.

"Independence was not a gift you were given. Independence is a prize you have won," Ms. Rice said. “On this day, the world’s oldest democracy welcomes the world’s newest state."

Britain was represented at the ceremony by Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said his government stands with the people of South Sudan "as they seek a future of stability and prosperity" and will use its “enhanced diplomatic presence” to work alongside the South Sudanese people and to meet their aspirations.

The UK has already appointed an Ambassador to the newly independent republic.

Britain “will support South Sudan’s membership of the Commonwealth and other international organisations,” He is Alastair McPhail, who had already been working as Consul General to South Sudan since March.

India was also amongst the first countries to embrace South Sudan.

“On this historic occasion, the government of India extends formal recognition to the independent state of South Sudan,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wrote to President Kiir.

India was represented by Vice President Hamid Ansari. An ambassador is to be appointed shortly.

China, which had been one of Sudan’s staunchest allies during South Sudan’s armed struggle for self-determination, was also amongst those first recognizing what will be the UN’s 193rd member.

"The peoples of China and South Sudan have enjoyed profound traditional friendship. We welcome the official declaration of independence of South Sudan," China’s Ambassador to the UN, Li Baodong said.

Although Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir enjoyed a red-carpet welcome last week in China, outraging human rights groups as he is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide in Darfur, China has played a helpful role in encouraging Sudan to move forward with reconciliation with South Sudan, US special envoy on Sudan, Princeton Lyman, told AFP

Bashir was a prominent presence at Saturday’s independence declaration.

"We congratulate our brothers in the south for the establishment of their new state," he told the crowd. "The will of the people of the south has to be respected."

For over fifty years, Arab-dominated Sudan has waged a violent military campaigns to crush the South Sudanese’ demand for self-determination.

The fighting was ended by the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which required both sides to work for a ‘united Sudan’ but also permitted a referendum for the South Sudanese to choose their future.

In the referendum, held in January this year, they almost unanimously chose independence.

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