January 3, 2012 (JUBA) - South Sudan has launched official passports and identity cards for the first time since the country’s independence in July.
President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced the official launch of the documents at a ceremony in Juba the Sudan Radio Service reported on 3 January.
Kiir demonstrated his own documents adding that they were the property of South Sudan. The launch of the ID documents is the latest stage in adjusting to the country’s secession from north Sudan as part of a landmark 2005 peace deal, which ended decades of conflict.
"During the time of the struggle when we were at war, there were friendly countries that gave us their passports that we used for travelling, and other travelling documents as well we used them. And today we have our own documents and we must own these documents with seriousness, these are the first documents that we are going to own as a new country."
The President warned South Sudan’s interior and foreign ministries to only issue diplomatic passports to deserving people. It would "tarnish the image of the citizens of South Sudan. Don’t allow this again".
The new passport is internationally recognised, Kiir said.
In July 2011 South Sudan introduced a new currency, the South Sudanese Pound (SSP).