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World congratulates South Sudan on independence

As the people of South Sudan declared their independence on Saturday after decades of struggle, congratulations and pledges of support swiftly came in from leaders across the world.

At least twenty countries have already recognized South Sudan, including all five members of the UN Security Council - the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – as well as India, South Africa, and Nigeria.

Other countries include Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Ireland, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, South Korea and Switzerland.

Ironically, Sudan was the first to recognise South Sudan, given Khartoum’s decades of violent efforts to deny the South’s demand independence that have resulted in over two million deaths and four million people being displaced.

United States President Barack Obama said in a statement he was "proud to declare that the United States formally recognises the Republic of South Sudan as a sovereign and independent state upon this day, July 9 2011".

He added: "A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realised by so many millions of people."

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said: "On behalf of the people and Government of India, I convey my warmest felicitations and greetings to the people and Government of Southern Sudan on this momentous and happy occasion”.

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev said: "Relations between our peoples have a long history ... South Sudan's sovereignty opens the way for bilateral dialogue based on the principles of reciprocal respect, friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation reinforced by successful projects," he said.

Medvedev added he hoped the relations between Russia and South Sudan could become an important factor in promoting stability and security on the African continent.

China's President Hu Jintao sent his "warmest congratulations," adding: "Although China and the Republic of South Sudan are separated by thousands of miles, the two peoples have a deep traditional friendship and common wish to enhance friendly exchanges. China's establishment of diplomatic ties with South Sudan has opened a new chapter in relations between the two countries.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said: "The Government of the People’s Republic of China announces its recognition of South Sudan, and from now on with the establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. China is ready on the basis of peaceful coexistence, with the development of friendly relations and cooperation in all areas of South Sudan".

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This is an historic day, for South Sudan and the whole of Africa. "The UK is proud to have been a witness to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to be among the first to recognise South Sudanese independence. We welcome South Sudan into the community of nations and look forward to building ever stronger links between the UK and South Sudan in the months and years ahead.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said: "We have always aspired to witness the dawn of peace, security and stability prevailing in the whole of the Sudan. That dream is coming to fruition."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "I hereby announce that Israel recognizes the Republic of South Sudan. We wish it success. This is a peace-seeking country and we would be pleased to cooperate with it in order to ensure its development and its prosperity. Greetings to South Sudan."

Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore  said: “I very much welcome the coming into existence of the Republic of South Sudan as the concrete expression of the will of the southern Sudanese people, following their overwhelming vote in favour of independence in January of this year.”

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy said: "This event [independence] is the fulfillment of an exceptional process, initiated by a peace accord in 2005, that all the international community supported and that the North and South (of Sudan) brought courageously to completion."

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the declaration of independence as “a day of joy and great hope for the people” and added: "We welcome the Republic of South Sudan as a member of the international community of states and we are looking forward to working together."

European Union president Herman Van Rompuy said: “Today a new country is rising in Africa. I congratulate South Sudan on its independence and wish its people a prosperous and peaceful future.”