9/7 Tass 111
MOSCOW, July 9 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has recognised the Republic of South Sudan that has officially proclaimed independence.
The Kremlin’s envoy for cooperation with African countries Mikhail Margelov met with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Juba, the capital of the newly independent state, to deliver a message from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
“The president’s message recognises South Sudan’s independence,” Margelov told Itar-Tass on Saturday, July 9, by telephone from Juba, where the independence of the new state was proclaimed earlier in the day.
“It was conveyed to Kiir,” he added.
Asked about when diplomatic relations between Russia and South Sudan can be established, Margelov said this would be done “according to the standard Foreign Ministry procedure”.
He declined to name an approximate timeline for this process.
Margelov said that Moscow would develop “both political and economic” relations with South Sudan, and several Russian companies have already shown their interest in the new state in such sectors as energy, infrastructure, military-technical cooperation.
Margelov has arrived in South Sudan to represent Russia at the official celebration marking independence. It began with the reading by parliament speaker James Wani Igga of the Declaration of Independence in the presence of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the leaders of some 30 African countries. A national flag was hoisted after the official ceremony.
After that Salva Kiir was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of South Sudan.
All this took place in front of the tomb of the “father of the nation”, John Garang, the founder of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army. He died under unclear circumstances on July 30, 2005 in a helicopter crash.
Earlier, official Khartoum recognised the independence of South Sudan, practically the entire population of which had supported separation in a nationwide referendum. Sudan’ s President Omar Al-Bashir has also arrived in Juba as a guest of honour.
The declaration of independence has put an end to the interethnic and inter-confessional conflict between the North and the South, which started in the 1950s and has claimed more than 2 million lives.
South Sudan has become the 54th independent state in Africa.