The leader of southern Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit, has arrived in the capital, Khartoum, to take his place in the national unity government following the death of his predecessor, John Garang.

Mr. Salva Kiir waved to the crowds as he stepped down from his airplane Wednesday, to greet supporters and government officials.

He is expected to be sworn in as first vice president on Thursday, filling the vacancy left by Mr. Garang.

Mr. Garang was vice president for only three weeks when he died in a helicopter crash on July 30.

Mr. Salva Kiir was Mr. Garang's longtime deputy in the southern rebel movement. He has promised to implement the peace agreement his predecessor signed this year.

The deal ended 21 years of civil war between southern rebels and the government in Khartoum.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.