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South Sudan Could Join UN Shortly After Independence

Salva Kiir Mayardit, the president of the government of southern Sudan, (file photo)

The president of the United Nations Security Council says south Sudan could become an official U.N. member as early as next week.

The new nation, which will be known as the Republic of South Sudan, is set to mark its independence on Saturday.

Germany's U.N. ambassador, Peter Wittig, who is serving as the council's president this month, said Tuesday he expects the Security Council to recommend south Sudan's membership on July 13. He said the fully General Assembly would likely vote the following day.

If approved, south Sudan would become the 193rd member of the United Nations.

The U.N. is also considering creating a new peacekeeping mission in south Sudan.

Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir will be sworn into office Saturday after he signs the country's new transitional constitution.

North and south Sudan fought a 21-year civil war that ended with a 2005 peace deal. South Sudan voted to split from the north in a referendum in January.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.