South Sudan becomes world's newest nation

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Juba, Jul 9: Oil-rich South Sudan today (Jul 9) became the world's newest country, splitting away from Khartoum-ruled north after decades of brutal war that claimed some two million lives.

Glorious celebration of the long-awaited independence began in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, at midnight last night (0230 IST this morning).

Frenzied people poured into the city streets, dancing, banging drums, waving flags and chanting the name of Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the new nation.

As a countdown clock in the city centre reached zero, the new national anthem of South Sudan, which became the 193rd country in the world and 54th UN member state in Africa, was played on television, marking the culmination of the January independence referendum.

A host of foreign dignitaries, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, are attending celebrations in Juba.

Sudan last evening extended official recognition to South Sudan, calling it an "independent state".

"The Republic of Sudan announces that it recognises the Republic of South Sudan as an independent state, according to the borders existing on January 1, 1956," Minister of Presidential Affairs Bakri Hassan Saleh said in a statement broadcast on state television.

"The government of Sudan is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) and to resolving all the post-referendum issues," Saleh said.

PTI

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