South Sudan votes for independence

From Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, February 8, 2011:

Press Release

The people of South Sudan have overwhelmingly voted for independence, with 98.83% in favour of a split. “Norway intends to formally recognise South Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011,” said Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The referendum on the future status of South Sudan was an impressive operation, with a voter turnout of more than 97%. President al-Bashir has declared that the official result will be accepted. South Sudan is set to become Africa’s 54th state when the transitional period ends in July this year.

The leaders of both North and South have shown great political wisdom throughout this process. There are still challenging negotiations to be completed before secession, and close dialogue between the parties will continue to be of crucial importance. The remaining elements of the peace agreement must be implemented, and the parties will have to agree on the basis and details for the establishment of two viable states with good neighbourly relations.

“Norway will support the parties in their efforts to find constructive solutions to the outstanding issues. We will continue our longstanding engagement in both North and South,” stated Mr Støre.

Norway was one of the countries that witnessed the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005. To mark the historic significance of the referendum, the witnesses to the agreement have issued a joint statement.

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