The United States has formally recognized the Republic of South Sudan on its independence day.
President Barack Obama said in a statement Saturday that he is "proud" to extend diplomatic recognition. He said South Sudan's newly declared independence is a "historic achievement" that shows, in his words, "the light of a new dawn is possible" after war.
The U.S. president pledged to be a partner to South Sudan's people as they "build their new country" and work to create and maintain "security, development, and responsive governance."
Obama called on the north and south to fully implement the 2005 peace deal that ended the war between them, and to negotiate a resolution for the disputed oil-rich Abyei region.
Obama also called on both sides - the northern government in particular - to put an end to violence and intimidation in the northern-controlled state of Southern Kordofan. Intense fighting between northern troops and pro-southern fighters in that state has displaced tens of thousands of people.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also congratulated South Sudan on its independence, saying it was a new beginning for its people.
Clinton said this is also an opportunity for the northern government, which has been accused of human rights abuses in its dealings with South Sudan and with genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.
Clinton commended Sudan for being the first country to recognize South Sudan's independence and said if the country continues "on the path of peace" it could begin to "redefine its relationship with the international community."