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Statement by H.E. Mr Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of Estonia, Chair of the Group of Eastern European States

08.08.2011

Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States to welcome the Republic of South Sudan as the 193rd Member State of the United Nations.

As we all know, the journey for South Sudan to this Hall has been neither an easy nor a short one. The more appreciated is the presence of the delegation of South Sudan here today headed by the Vice-President Mr. Riek Machar Teny at this historical moment. The referendum in January, 2011 was a clear sign that the people of South Sudan are united in their dream for self-determination. Almost 99% of those that expressed their minds, voted for sovereignty. Over this weekend we saw the dream come true by people in Juba celebrating when the independence was officially declared and President Salva Kiir sworn into office.

South Sudan stands at the end of one era today but only at the beginning of an even more important one, which is transition into a fully functional, responsible and prosperous nation state. The Members of the Group of Eastern European States are prepared to work in close cooperation with South Sudan on this road.

We would also like to take this opportunity to commend the Government of Sudan for their constructiveness throughout the referendum process and to count on their continued cooperation in future.

We would like to call on both sides to engage in resolving all the outstanding issues related to the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in an expedited manner.

We would sincerely like to congratulate the people and the Government of South Sudan and to wish them warmly welcome to the family of sovereign nations.

Thank you.

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