Security Council Clears Way for South Sudan’s UN Membership
The General Assembly is scheduled to vote tomorrow to make the accession official. The flag of the new African nation would then be raised at UN headquarters, joining those that fly daily along First Avenue in Manhattan between East 42nd Street and East 48th Street.
“South Sudan will be a responsible member of the international community and will respect its obligations under international law,” South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar told the Security Council.
South Sudan’s independence follows a year that has been the most violent in the region since the end of a two-decade civil war in Sudan in 2005. Rebel attacks and ethnic violence have killed 2,368 civilians, compared with 940 last year, according to the UN. As many as nine militia groups operate mainly along the border with the North.
“We are all Sudanese, in the North and the South,” Daffa- Alla Elhag Ali Osman, Sudan’s ambassador to the UN said. “We have left behind us now the story of the history of war and bitterness that was part of the past and we now look towards the future where we will cooperate together in order to bear witness to our common heritage and history.”
The UN has established two peacekeeping missions in the region in the past month, one in the disputed border area of Abyei and the other in South Sudan. The latter will include as many as 7,000 soldiers and 900 civilian police to provide security and aid the new nation’s development.
“Like any newborn, South Sudan needs help,” UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said. “Institutions of government are weak. There are tremendous challenges on every front: social services, health, education. On the day of its birth, South Sudan ranks at the bottom of almost all human development indicators.”
South Sudan gained control of about 75 percent of Sudan’s daily oil production of 490,000 barrels when it became independent. The crude, pumped mainly by China National Petroleum Corp., Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional Bhd and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp. day, is exported through a pipeline that runs to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
Oil earnings accounted for about 98 percent of South Sudan’s 2010 budget.
Sudan will be the first new UN member since Montenegro in 2006. East Timor and Switzerland were admitted in 2002.
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