9/7 Tass 85
MOSCOW, July 9 (Itar-Tass) — Russia is ready to recognize Southern Sudan, Russian president’s African cooperation envoy Mikhail Margelov said on Saturday.
Margelov is currently in the Southern Sudan capital city of Juba to attend a ceremony of proclaiming independence.
“Russia is ready to establish official relations with Southern Sudan at a top level,” he told Itar-Tass over the phone. “We are going to develop these relations both in the political and economic spheres.”
According to Margelov, a number of Russian companies have already said they were interested in cooperation with the new state in such areas as power engineering, infrastructure, military and technical cooperation.
The ceremony is being attended by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the leaders of 30 African countries, including South African President Jacob Zuma, the foreign ministers of France and Britain Alain Juppe and William Hague and other senior officials.
Margelov also said after the ceremony he plans to meet with Southern Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to hand over a message from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Last January in southern Sudan, in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), a referendum was held on self-determination, in which 98.83 percent of the residents voted for independence of Southern Sudan from the central government in Khartoum. Official Khartoum has already recognized Southern Sudan, which will be the 54th independent state in Africa.