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South Sudan Proclaims Independence, Raises Flag


A South Sudanese flag is prepared for South Sudan's Independence Day celebrations in Juba.
South Sudan raised the flag of its new nation for the first time today, as thousands of South Sudanese citizens and dozens of international dignitaries attended celebrations in the capital, Juba.

The flag raising came as the speaker of parliament, James Wani Igga, proclaimed that "we, the democratically elected representives of the people, hereby declare Southern Sudan to be an independent and sovereign state."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is among international dignitaries attending the celebrations, along with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

The new country won its independence in a January referendum -- the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with Sudan's Khartoum government.

The government in Khartoum was the first to recognize the new state on July 8, but its recognition does not dispel fears of future tensions between the two countries, including over territory and oil.

compiled from agency reports

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