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US to recognise south Sudan, says Obama

Tuesday February 8 2011

WASHINGTON, Tuesday

The United States said yesterday it will recognise south Sudan as the world’s newest nation as it moved to reward the north for its cooperation by taking it off a terrorism blacklist.

Just hours after results from a referendum showed that 98.83 per cent of southern Sudan favoured secession, President Barack Obama announced that the United States would recognise it as a “sovereign, independent state” in July.

“On behalf of the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of southern Sudan for a successful and inspiring referendum in which an overwhelmingly majority of voters chose independence,” Mr Obama said.

“After decades of conflict, the images of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world and another step forward in Africa’s long journey toward justice and democracy,” Mr Obama said in a statement.

In Cape Town, Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu and other members of a group of global statesmen known as The Elders today praised the landmark vote.

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“This referendum was a remarkable expression of hope by the people. I was very moved by their determination to vote; some walked for days to do so,” said Tutu in a statement issued by The Elders.

“Everyone who took part should be praised for ensuring that voters were able to exercise their rights freely. I applaud the people for their peaceful participation and their remarkably high turnout to vote.” (AFP)