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South Sudan Becomes 193rd Member of United Nations

The flag of South Sudan (C) flies after the United Nations General Assembly voted on South Sudan's membership to the United Nations at UN headquarters in New York, July 14, 2011

The flag of South Sudan (C) flies after the United Nations General Assembly voted on South Sudan's membership to the United Nations at UN headquarters in New York, July 14, 2011

South Sudan became the 193rd member of the United Nations Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly approved the country’s membership by acclamation.

South Sudan’s new flag was raised for the first time outside United Nations headquarters in a brief ceremony symbolizing the country’s U.N. membership that was acclaimed just over an hour earlier by the General Assembly.

Riek Machar, South Sudan’s Vice President, appeared before the applauding General Assembly to express what he described as the profound gratitude of the people and government of South Sudan. Machar said it is South Sudan’s deepest and most sincere wish to peacefully resolve all outstanding matters between South Sudan and Sudan, from which it separated. We do not harbor bitterness, he said, with our former compatriots. He added that after many years of war, South Sudan wants to be a force for peace in its region.

“With this in mind, we urge our brothers in Ethiopia and Eritrea to resolve their differences peacefully and amicably. We appeal to our brothers and sisters in Somalia to seek lasting peace and we salute all those who are working to build democracy and the rule of law from the ground up. We encourage all countries in the region to come together to eradicate the scourge of the Lord’s Resistance Army. We will also join our regional partners and the rest of the world in the fight against terrorism,” Machar said.

Sudan’s representative at the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, congratulated South Sudan on its U.N. membership and spoke of solidarity, cooperation and coordination between the two countries for the well-being of their two peoples.

Rwanda’s representative to the United Nations, Eugene-Richard Gasana, speaking for the African group of nations at the U.N., said South Sudan faces enormous challenges. He hoped that South Sudan and Sudan will soon settle their outstanding issues on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement - known as the CPA - signed in 2005 to end Sudan’s 21-year civil war.

”Those issues are particularly cessation of hostilities and political settlement in South Kordofan, the final status of Abyei in accordance with the CPA, the demarcation of the north-south boundary as well as well as political consultation on Blue Nile,” Gasana said.

United States U.N. representative Susan Rice said the independence of South Sudan is a testament to its people and also an inspiration to all who yearn for freedom.

“Your statehood is new, but your friendship is not. The bonds between the American people and the people of South Sudan go back many decades. The United States will remain a steadfast friend as South Sudan works to pursue peace, to strengthen its democracy and provide opportunity and prosperity to all its citizens,” Rice said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it is imperative that South Sudan and Sudan resolve their outstanding differences with the same pragmatism and leadership that they have shown so far. The two countries, he went on, must see a future as true partners, not rivals.