UN membership seen shortly after South Sudan splits

South Sudan could become a United Nations member state quickly after seceding from the north, under a timetable given by the UN Security Council’s president on Tuesday.

Poor, conflict-ravaged but oil-producing South Sudan is preparing to secede on July 9 and the United Nations is gearing up to become guardian of what will be its 193rd member state.

The UN Security Council will likely adopt a resolution on July 13 to recommend membership of South Sudan, German Ambassador Peter Wittig, UN Security Council president this month, told reporters on Tuesday.

That will likely be recommended to the United Nations General Assembly to act upon the following day, said Wittig.

If submitted to the General Assembly with all the necessary requirements — such as no veto — it could be possible that South Sudan becomes a member state on July 14.

A membership request typically needs a two-thirds majority to be approved, which today would mean 128 votes out of 192 member states. However, South Sudan may not have to be put to the vote as non-controversial resolutions can be adopted by consensus with no vote necessary.

UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon said in a statement late on Tuesday he was disappointed there had not been an end to hostilities in South Kordofan, the north’s main oil state, which borders the south.

He called on all parties to stop hostilities and condemned the “grave humanitarian impact of continued fighting”.

Ahead of South Sudan’s secession, the UN Security Council is expected to approve the deployment of up to 7 000 UN peacekeepers in the south.

“There will be intensive consultations on that resolution — on the form, shape and purpose of that mission — in the coming days,” said Wittig. He added that a decision would probably come “one or two days” before July 9.

The UN mission for South Sudan, tentatively called UNMISS, will be the fourth separate blue-helmeted force in Sudan. The others were for Dafur, Abyei and a mission called UNMIS, which monitors compliance with the 2005 north-south peace deal that ended decades of civil war.

North Sudan said earlier on Tuesday it wanted UN peacekeepers to leave when the south secedes, shrugging off international pressure to extend the UN mission to protect civilians caught up in fresh fighting.

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