US, Britain and Norway congratulate South Sudan on 10-year anniversary

World’s youngest country celebrates its independence from Khartoum on July 9

A July 9, 2011 photo shows thousands of Southern Sudanese during a ceremony in the capital Juba to celebrate South Sudan's independence from Sudan. AFP
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The governments of the US, UK and Norway on Thursday congratulated South Sudan on its 10-year anniversary. The three countries, often referred to as the Troika, played a pivotal role in helping to establish the world’s youngest nation.

South Sudan separated from Khartoum on July 9, 2011, after a referendum in which 99 per cent of South Sudanese vote for independence.

“It was a joyous occasion, filled with hope and possibility,” the three counties said in a statement released on the eve of South Sudan’s independence day.

But its short history has been rife with corruption, violence and conflict. Between 2013 and 2018, a brutal civil war ravaged the country.

The conflict pitted President Salva Kiir against Vice President Riek Machar and the factions loyal to each leader.

More than 400,000 South Sudanese were killed during the fighting that was based on ethnic divisions. Another 2.3 million people were forced to flee their homes.

“The first 10 years of this young country’s history have seen much suffering due to conflict-related abuses, famine, flooding and disease,” the Troika statement said. “Yet through it all, the South Sudanese people have shown resilience.”

The three countries called on Juba to better provide for the South Sudanese people, ensuring the nation's substantial natural wealth and resources find their way to “ordinary citizens”.

While the optimism of 2011 has long since evaporated, the three countries remain invested in South Sudan’s future, hoping it can one day attain its full potential.

“We urge the political leadership of South Sudan to take the actions needed to build the country the jubilant crowds of 2011 dreamt was possible,” the Troika said.

Updated: July 08, 2021, 4:27 PM