News / Africa

Security Council Recommends UN Membership for South Sudan

A man waves South Sudan's national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011
A man waves South Sudan's national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011
Larry Freund

The United Nations Security Council has recommended U.N. membership for South Sudan, which became independent this past Saturday. The U.N. General Assembly is expected to give final approval on Thursday.

Without a vote, the 15-member Security Council approved a resolution Wednesday recommending U.N. membership for South Sudan. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Council that like any newborn, South Sudan needs help. He mentioned the U.N. mission in Darfur, the withdrawal of the U.N.’s mission in Sudan, the deployment of peacekeepers in the Abyei border area and the situation in Sudan's Southern Kordofan region, which he called deeply troubling.

“Resolving these tensions is absolutely vital," said Ban. "A viable south will need a viable north - and vice versa. Together, south and north must face their common future as partners, not rivals.”

Comments in the Security Council from spokesmen for both the new South Sudan and the Republic of Sudan emphasized the partnership and not the rivalry.  South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar, expressed South Sudan’s profound gratitude for the Security Council’s action.

“It is our deepest and most sincere wish to resolve all outstanding matters between north and south swiftly and peacefully," said Machar. "We remain committed to working out our differences through dialogue and in a spirit of cooperation.”

Machar said the two sides must agree on mechanisms for continued cooperation and agreement on disputed border areas and the final status of the oil-rich Abyei area.  He said South Sudan will continue to work with Sudan to insure there is justice for the people of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile

Republic of South Sudan, World's Newest Country on Dipity.

Sudan’s representative to the United Nations, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, congratulated South Sudan and said a page has been turned on bitterness and war. Speaking with reporters, Osman said the two nations are one family.

"It is true that the south seceded but that should not be considered as a rupture," said Osman. "Secession or independence is not a rupture in the relations. We have a lot of commonalities. We have a lot of affinities.”

Osman said he is sure the two countries’ leaders will agree on the outstanding issues.

Susan Rice, the United States representative to the United Nations, said what she called a moment of promise is also fragile. She urged Sudan and South Sudan to work hard to secure an enduring peace. She said a permanent resolution of Abyei’s status remains elusive and brutal fighting in Southern Kordofan has displaced more than 70,000 people.

“The challenges are great, but they are by no means insurmountable," said Rice. "The Security Council has done its utmost to support this process, and this council and my government will remain deeply engaged in supporting the Republic of South Sudan at this critical juncture and into the future.”

Rice said the United States has great faith in the people of South Sudan and expects they will create a government that works for the good of all people and for the stability of the region.

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