LONDON, July 29 (UPI) — The decision to accept South Sudan into the African Union demonstrates the country is taking its place on the international stage, a British official said.
The African Union announced this week that it received the requisite number of written approvals for the admission of South Sudan following the country’s request to join the bloc.
The 53-member African Union noted that 33 member states, including Sudan, backed South Sudan’s request. Admission is decided by a simple majority.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement said London welcomed South Sudan as the 54th member of the African Union.
“Following accession to the United Nations, this is a further demonstration of South Sudan taking its rightful place among the international community,” he said in a statement.
South Sudan was welcomed as the 193rd member of the U.N. General Assembly shortly after gaining independence July 9. Independence was part of a comprehensive peace agreement reached in 2005 that ended Sudan’s bloody civil war.
Issues like revenue-sharing, currency and border demarcation continue to hamper the security situation in the region.
The United Nations sent peacekeepers to the disputed region of Abyei and rights groups have called for similar action in South Kordofan, the site of alleged ethnic killings along the border between the two Sudans.