11 July 2011
Congratulations continued to pour in following the official declaration of South Sudan as an independent State on Saturday. South African President Jacob Zuma joined other African leaders in wishing the new country well.
“Today is a significant and most historic moment for the Sudan, Africa and the world,” said Zuma, who was present at Saturday’s celebrations in Juba, the capital of the new state. “We are honoured to be here with you to witness the dawning of a new era.
“Our presence here enables us to congratulate the government of Sudan for staying the course and creating an enabling atmosphere to ensure that the referendum for the secession of the South was peaceful and an expression of the will of the people.
“We know that many are uneasy about the independence of the South,” Zuma said. “Change always brings uncertainty and discomfort. However, we are pleased at the general acceptance of the reality of the independence of the South, and that this historic development is an expression of the will of the people.”
Zuma said an African solution had been delivered to an African problem. “We have shown the world yet again what we are capable of as Africans. Africans, from Cape to Cairo, are today walking tall celebrating this historic moment, and acknowledging the commitment of the people of both the north and south to peace and progress.
“As South Africa we are truly humbled to have contributed to ensuring a sustainable peace in the Sudan. We have always aspired to witness the dawn of peace, security and stability prevailing in the whole of the Sudan. That dream is coming to fruition.”
South Africa has contributed significantly to post-conflict reconstruction and development in the country through a number of capacity and institution building projects since the signing of Sudan’s comprehensive peace agreement in 2005.
South Africa also chairs the African Union (AU) post-conflict reconstruction and development committee on the Sudan.
“We want to ensure that these initiatives and projects for development continue to assist the people of Sudan in carving a prosperous future,” Zuma said. “It is South Africa’s hope that the government of Sudan and the new government of South Sudan will engage in a partnership with South Africa to the improvement of relations on the economic and bilateral front.
“The government of South Africa would like to emphasise that both north and south should create an atmosphere of cooperation. South Africa stands ready to serve as a bridge between the neighbours to ensure that mutual trust and peace prevail.
“We congratulate the people of Sudan,” Zuma said. “They now need to be afforded support and the space to heal from the experience of war and move forward towards a better life for its citizens. Furthermore it is South Africa’s wish to see Sudan solidifying its democracy and to take its rightful place in peace-building in the African continent.
“Sudan (both north and south) needs to serve as an example and a beacon of hope not only to the African continent but to the world at large.”