Australia welcomes South Sudan to the Community of Nations

Joint media release: Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs

Canberra

9 July 2011

The Australian Government has today formally recognised the Republic of South Sudan as an independent state.

South Sudan declared its independence today.

Australia warmly welcomes South Sudan into the community of nations.

Independence reflects the clear aspirations of the South Sudanese people, as expressed in January's credible and peaceful referendum.

We congratulate in particular Australia's large South Sudanese community, with Australia the largest voting site outside of Africa.

Australia will shortly establish diplomatic relations with South Sudan.

Australia will be represented at today's celebrations in Juba by the Hon Michael Danby MP.

Mr Danby is the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and was appointed by the Prime Minister to be Australia's Special Representative at the independence celebrations.

Working with the international community, Australia stands ready to support the people of South Sudan and Sudan build a viable and secure future.

The Australian Government is pleased to announce $16 million to assist South Sudan over the next two years to deliver basic services such as education, maternal health, sanitation and also to support rural livelihoods.

While today is a day of celebration, the people of South Sudan face substantial challenges.

Australia is gravely concerned about ongoing serious violence and insecurity in parts of Sudan, particularly in Southern Kordofan state and the Darfur region, and in parts of South Sudan.

Australia has contributed peacekeepers to the United Nations Mission in Sudan since 2005, and intends to make a contribution to the new United Nations Mission in South Sudan, expected to be established shortly.

Australia urges the peaceful resolution of all outstanding matters by negotiation, not unilateral action. The protection and safety of civilians must be the highest priority.

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