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France welcomes new nation of South Sudan

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11:46 CEST+02:00

France on Saturday recognised the newly created Republic of South Sudan, President Nicolas Sarkozy said, calling for establishing diplomatic relations.

"France recognises and welcomes South Sudan to the community of nations," said a statement from the French presidency, adding that Sarkozy has proposed to South Sudan's President Salva Kir "that the two countries establish diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors."

South Sudan's parliament speaker proclaimed his state's independence earlier Saturday, creating the world's newest nation and splitting Africa's largest country in two.

"This event 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," the French statement said.

Sarkozy also hailed the people of the two Sudans for having peacefully accomplished this historic step and pledged French support for their security and development.

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