News / Africa

Nations Move to Recognize South Sudan

A tribeswoman takes part in Independence Day celebrations in Juba, now the capital of South Sudan, July 9, 2011
A tribeswoman takes part in Independence Day celebrations in Juba, now the capital of South Sudan, July 9, 2011

Nations are moving quickly to recognize South Sudan, which became the world's newest independent country on Saturday.

A Sudanese newspaper, The Sudan Tribune, reports that at least 15 countries have recognized South Sudan so far, including major world powers such as the United States, Britain, Russia and China.

U.S. President Barack Obama was among the first to extend recognition Saturday. In a statement, he said the United States "welcomes the birth of a new nation" and will be a partner to South Sudanese as they undertake the hard work of building their country.

Statements of recognition also came from British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and the leaders of India, Israel, Kenya, and France.

China also extended recognition and said it will strive to promote peace and good relations between South Sudan and its former national partner, Sudan. China is a major buyer of Sudanese crude oil, and wants to ensure that tensions between the two Sudans does not disrupt oil production.

Sudan and South Sudan have yet to resolve issues over their borders and how to share oil revenue from fields located largely in South Sudan's territory. The oil remains an issue because South Sudan is landlocked, and the pipelines to the Red Sea run northward through Sudan.

The former two halves of Sudan fought a 21-year civil war that ended in 2005. South Sudan voted overwhelmingly to split from the north in a January referendum.

The government in Khartoum was the first to recognize the new nation late Friday. That move was praised by the United States and Britain, who both said the two Sudans can peacefully resolve their issues.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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