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Philippines extends hand to South Sudan

/ 06:24 AM August 02, 2011

The Philippines has officially recognized the Republic of South Sudan as a “sovereign country” nearly a month after the latter gained independence.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday said the “the Philippine government and the Filipino people share the aspirations of the people of South Sudan for self-determination and wish them happiness and prosperity.”

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South Sudanese raised their new country’s flag in an independence ceremony in the capital, Juba, on July 9.

In a statement, the DFA said Manila “hopes to establish diplomatic relations with South Sudan and is prepared to work with its government in initiatives that would mutually benefit the peoples of the Philippines and South Sudan and promote regional development, peace and stability.”

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Raul Hernandez, DFA spokesperson, told the Inquirer “we have now some 2,300 Filipino migrant workers in the whole of Sudan.”

A number of them work in the oil fields of South Sudan, Hernandez said.

Another 99 Filipinos are based in Sudan as members of the United Nations peacekeeping force.

The DFA did not say which Philippine embassy in Africa would have consular jurisdiction over Juba.

“But the closest to Juba is the Philippine mission in Nairobi, Kenya,” Hernandez said.

South Sudan (population: over 9 million), the 193rd member of the United Nations, is bounded by North Sudan in the north, the Central African Republic in the west, Ethiopia and Eritrea in the east, and Kenya, Uganda and Zaire in the south.

The international community, and in particular the United States, Russia, China and the European Union, were among the first to recognize South Sudan, which despite its vast oil reserves is among the poorest countries in the world, said an Agence France-Presse report. Jerry E. Esplanada; AFP

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TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, Filipino people, Republic of South Sudan
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