July 15, 2011 (JUBA) – The flag of the newly born Republic of South Sudan was officially raised at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday before the 192 exisiting member states of the world body.
- The flag of South Sudan flies after the United Nations General Assembly voted on South Sudan’s membership to the United Nations at UN headquarters in New York July 14, 2011 (Reuters)
South Sudan was officially declared independent last Saturday, July 9, and was recognised by the United Nations on Thursday, July 15, as the 193rd member state following two separate unanimous votes on Wednesday and Thursday by the Security Council and the General Assembly recognising the new state, respectively.
Ambassadors from 192 nations gathered around the South Sudanese flag as it was being raised high among the other flags of the world nations in the presence of the South Sudanese vice president, Riek Machar Teny, the president of the UN General Assembly, Joseph Deiss and the Secretary-General of the Security Council, Ban Ki Moon.
The scene was joyous as representatives of the world nations shouted slogans
welcoming South Sudan into being and congratulating Vice President Machar
for finally joining the world nations as an independent country.
- South Sudan’s flag, centre, shortly after it was raised in New York in the presence of 192 representatives of member states. At the center of the picture is South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar, on his right is President of General Assembly, Joseph Deiss while on his left is UN Security Council SG, Ban Ki Moon. (Republic of South Sudan)
Hundreds of South Sudanese witnessing the ceremony at the UN headquarters cried tears of joy as the Head of the Mission of the Republic of South Sudan to the United States, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, performed traditional dances around the flag in front of the UN officials as the flag was being raised with the South Sudan national anthem.
Following the vote to recognise South Sudan, the president of the UN General
Assembly, Joseph Deiss, said the world has finally welcomed South Sudan into the community of nations, adding that the new nation from Thursday would enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as other member states.
The Security Council’s Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, told the gathering that
world had gathered at that moment and place with one voice welcoming South
Vice President Riek Machar expressed his gratitude to the world body, saying South Sudan has finally reached the destiny its people had longed for over a century and hoped to reach.
Machar told the gathering that the people of the new nation remember the fallen
martyrs among which is the founder of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), John Garang de Mabior.
The late founder died in a helicopter crash in South Sudan near the Ugandan border only 21 days after taking office as the first vice president of Sudan and president of semi-autonomous Southern Sudan after leading 21 years of liberation struggle against Khartoum’s successive regimes.
Garang negotiated the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which granted South Sudan the right to secede from the North in a referendum held in January this year.
The South voted by 98 percent to separate but the next task, Machar said, is to build the new nation, which is severely underdeveloped after almost continuous conflict since independence from British and Egyptian rule in 1956.
Audio of James Wani Igga, Speaker of South Sudan’s Parliament declaring the region an independent Republic in Juba on July 9, 2011.