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UN Secretary-General arrives for Southern Sudan independence

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8 July 2011 - UN Secretary General (SG) Ban Ki-moon arrived in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba on the eve of independence celebrations for the new Republic of South Sudan.

Accompanied by UN General Assembly President Joseph Deiss and other dignitaries, Mr. Ban was received by Government of Southern Sudan officials and senior UNMIS staff at Juba International Airport.

“I am deeply honoured to visit Juba, South Sudan, for the second time -- this time to share the joy and excitement with the people of South Sudan on this very auspicious occasion of (the) independence of South Sudan,” Mr. Ban said upon his arrival.

“Independence will be just a starting point. You have to make your country resilient, prosperous, sustainable and democratically mature,” he added.

The SG commended the people and leadership of Southern Sudan for their endurance, promising that the UN would assist the new republic in its nation building and democratization efforts.

He also applauded the Government of Sudan for recognizing South Sudan as an independent state.

Later Mr. Ban held a meeting with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and other government officials at the Presidential Guesthouse. Speaking to the press there, President Kiir urged the UN to support resolution of outstanding issues related to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

He noted that the UN Security Council had passed Resolution 1996 (on 8 July) to form a new UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The SG had appointed Hilde Johnson of Norway as his Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in South Sudan.

Mr. Ban is expected to speak during the official celebration to take place at John Garang Mausoleum in the presence of dozens of heads of states and other dignitaries.

The Republic of South Sudan will become the UN’s 193rd or newest member in mid-July.