Southern Sudanese celebrated today when Election Officials announced the results of their January Referendum: 98.83 % for succession, making South Sudan the world’s newest country.
The actual birth of the nation is still five months away—July 2011—when South Sudan will take on all the duties, responsibilities and privileges of a sovereign, independent state.
U. S. President Barack Obama announced that at that time he will recognize South Sudan, saying, “On behalf of the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of southern Sudan for a successful and inspiring Referendum in which an overwhelmingly majority of voters chose independence.
In further praise, Obama said, “After decades of conflict, the images of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world and another step forward in Africa’s long journey toward justice and democracy.”
In a separate announcement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States was beginning the process of “removal of the State Sponsor of Terrorism designation” that had been placed on Sudan.” The de-listing of Sudan is based on agreements reached with Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, dependent on his meeting all criteria spelled out in US law, which include not supporting terrorism for a period of six months and ensuring it will not do so in the future.
Al-Bashir has been indicted for war crimes in the region of Darfur, but he kept the agreement to peacefully accept whatever result came from the Referendum. He said on state television, “Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results because they represent the will of the southern people.”
U. S. Senator John Kerry, who had made three trips in recent
months to Sudan to help pave the way for the historic vote, said, “Khartoum is attempting to redefine its relationship with the United States and the rest of the international community.”
Let us hope that both North Sudan and South Sudan retain their sense of hope and optimism in peacefully dealing with the remaining issues, which inclued border demarcation, oil rights and citizenship rights.