South Sudan Becomes Newest Country

Salva-Kiir-Mayardit-First-President-of-South-SudanPeople in South Sudan partied in the streets of the capital Juba as the newly independent African state became the world’s newest country on Saturday.

Saturday’s declaration of independence followed a January referendum, where South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly for the state’s separation from the Republic of Sudan. The vote came as a result of a 2005 peace agreement that ended the second Sudanese Civil War, which began in 1983. South Sudan was able to establish an autonomous government from 2005 until its independence this year.

The celebrations on Saturday include the swearing into office of first South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. The new South Sudanese flag is also expected to be raised for the first time at the event. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was to grace the event, as well as Northern Sudan President Omar al-Bashir. Other world leaders, such as South African President Jacob Zuma, also made the trip to the landlocked country. U.S. President Barack Obama said in a message that South Sudan is proof that it is possible for something good to come out of a war. “Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible,” Obama said. “A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn.”