RI recognizes newly-born South Sudan

Padangekspres.net-As a staunch supporter of democracy, Indonesia has officially recognized South Sudan, a country that became independent on July 9 and joined the community of nations, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On behalf of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian Ambassador to Sudan and Ethiopia Sujatmiko attended the South Sudan’s independence ceremony in Juba, the capital of the new nation.

South Sudan’s first President Salva Kiir Mayardit invited President Yudhoyono to attend the independence ceremony. The presence of the Indonesian ambassador at the independence ceremony was a clear sign that Indonesia welcomes South Sudan’s independence.

“As a country that highly values democracy, RI [Republic of Indonesia] congratulates South Sudan, which declared its independence through a referendum in a democratic manner,” Sujatmiko said in Juba.

Until last Saturday, the Christian-majority South Sudan was a part of Muslim-majority Sudan. Years of conflict between Christian south and Muslim north resulted in death and destruction. Finally, both warring factions inked the Naivasha Agreement for comprehensive peace in 2006.

It was this agreement that paved the way for a peaceful referendum in January 2011, in which South Sudanese overwhelmingly (almost 99 percent) voted for independence.

The oil-rich but under-developed South Sudan will become the 193rd member of the United Nations. With South Sudan’s separation from Sudan, the African continent now has 54 countries.

As a land-locked country, South Sudan still has to depend on its former foe, northern Sudan, for exports and imports. In this case both Sudanese can learn from Indonesians and the people of Timor Leste, which separated from Indonesia through a referendum to eventually become an independent country in 2002.

Asian giants such as China, India, Japan and South Korea are in line to help the new nation. As a co-chair of the Asian-African Summit, Indonesia should not lag behind other nations in establishing diplomatic relationship with South Sudan.

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