Statement delivered by Mr JT Radebe, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development during the United Nations General Assembly on the admission of South Sudan
13 Jul 2011
The President of the General Assembly Mr Joseph Deiss;
His Excellency, Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Ban Ki Moon;
Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Dr Riek Machar;
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and permanent representatives;
Heads of observer Missions and International Agencies present;
Ladies and gentlemen
I wish to express South Africa’s gratitude to the Permanent Representative of Rwanda, H.E. Eugène-Richard Gasana, the Chair of the Africa Group for the month of July, for affording my delegation this singular honour of introducing this historic resolution on behalf of Africa member states.
On 9 July, the world witnessed the birth of a new state in Africa, the Republic of South Sudan.
After decades of war that caused millions of deaths, the people of Sudan in 2005 made a historic breakthrough when they agreed on a plan to resolve their differences and began a journey towards lasting and durable peace. This agreement was buttressed in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement entered into between the government of the Republic of Sudan and the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM).
One of the key pillars of this agreement was the right to a referendum on self-determination and independence for South Sudan. The passing of Resolution 1514 by this august Assembly on 14 December 1960 was a significant milestone in the struggle for decolonisation, self-determination and independence. The resolution served as an inspiration to the majority of people on the African continent and elsewhere in their struggle against colonialism, oppression and Apartheid.
The founding fathers and mothers of Africa agreed in the founding documents of the Organisation of the African Unity and the Constitutive Act of its successor, the African Union, to maintain Colonial borders inherited after independence given the sensitivities and complexities of this colonial inheritance.
It was for this reason that the African Union immediately, following the 9 January, referendum on self-determination by the people of Southern Sudan, adopted a Solemn Declaration in which it recognised the exceptional challenges, inherited from the colonial past as well as the unique nature of the national question confronting the people of Sudan.
In this regard, African Heads of State and government, acknowledged that Sudan represents an exceptional case, which does not negate this sacrosanct principle of respect of colonial borders.
I stand here before you, and this august Assembly, with the distinct honour to introduce, on behalf of the Africa Group, the draft resolution on the admission of the Republic of South Sudan to membership of the United Nations comfortable in the knowledge that this act in no way creates a precedent for successions tendencies.
It was for this reason that the Republic of Sudan was the first country to recognise the independence and sovereignty of their new neighbour, the Republic of South Sudan. This resolution has the unanimous and full support of the African Member States of the United Nations as well as the African Union.
As Africans we continue to be grateful for the role that multi-lateral organisations in general, and the United Nations in particular, have played in our quest for independence, quest for freedom and quest for self-determination. We reaffirm our collective faith and our collective commitment to the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter.
With the support of the entire continent and all peace-loving people across the world, we present for your consideration the draft resolution contained in document A/65/L.84 on the admission of the Republic of South Sudan a to membership of the United Nations.
History has on ordained all of us here with this rare and distinct honour to witness, the admission of the Republic of South Sudan as the 193th Member State of the United Nations.
With these words I would like to say I thank you all.
Source: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Issued by: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development