UN welcomes South Sudan as its 193rd member
South Sudan, born out of the decades-old conflict with the Arab-led northern part of Sudan, was welcomed into the United Nations on Thursday as its 193rd member, DPA reported.
The new nation was immediately given seats for its delegation, headed by Vice President Rick Machar, in the UN General Assembly, which serves as a legislature for the world organization and grants UN membership.
Machar, top UN leaders and government representatives then raised South Sudan's flag in front of the UN world headquarters. The flag is adorned with a star and black, white, green, red and blue stripes.
In his speech, Machar thanked governments and organizations that helped South Sudan end what he called Africa's longest civil war between the two parts of Sudan. The war, which lasted two decades and claimed an estimated 2 million lives, ended with the signing of a peace agreement in 2005. That agreement allowed the south to choose independence from Khartoum.
Machar reiterated Juba's pledge to commit to the obligations of the UN Charter in his first speech to the assembly.
"We aspire to a South Sudan where children can go to schools without fear, we aspire to a South Sudan where houses have electricity and water," Machar said, citing an agenda ranging from building democratic and economic institutions to political reconciliation and rule of law.
Government delegates and those representing organizations like the European Union and African Union all welcomed South Sudan.
The UN pulled out all the stops to expedite the admission of the brand new republic just six days after Juba declared independence from Khartoum. On Wednesday the UN Security Council recommended the admission to the 192-nation assembly.
The assembly on Thursday adopted a resolution without a vote to admit the nation of 8 million people, which is still in a state of conflict with the Khartoum government despite pledges by both sides to resolve their differences through diplomacy.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed South Sudan.
"Just days ago, I was honoured to attend the independence ceremony in Juba," Ban said. "I felt the energy, the potential and the pure joy of the world's newest nation."
Ban said South Sudan has abundant natural resources, arable land, waters of the Nile and its "proud, hard working people."