Election officials say the final results from last month’s vote in Southern Sudan show that more than 98 percent of the ballots were cast for independence.
The results mean that Southern Sudan will become the world’s newest country in July. Sudan President Omar Al-Bashir said Monday he accepts the outcome of the vote.
President Barack Obama hailed the vote as a new path in Sudan’s future.
“On behalf of the people of the United States, I congratulate the people of Southern Sudan for a successful and inspiring referendum in which an overwhelming majority of voters chose independence. I am therefore pleased to announce the intention of the United States to formally recognize Southern Sudan as a sovereign, independent state in July 2011,” Obama said in a statement.
“After decades of conflict, the images of millions of southern Sudanese voters deciding their own future was an inspiration to the world and another step forward in Africa’s long journey toward justice and democracy.”
North and south Sudan fought a decades-long civil war that ended in 2005 with a peace agreement that guaranteed last month’s vote. More than 2 million people died in the war between 1983 and 2005.
The two sides must still negotiate citizenship rights, oil rights and border demarcation.
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