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Australia establishes diplomatic relations with South Sudan

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Australia has formally established diplomatic relations with the world's newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan. Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd met his South Sudanese counterpart Nhial Deng Nhial last week to formalise the relationship between the two countries, saying that Australia was a committed friend and partner of S0uth Sudan. "As well as providing sanctuary to refugees from South Sudan during the many years of conflict, Australia is assisting the fledgling state to deliver basic services such as education, maternal health and sanitation." There is a community of 20,000 South Sudanese people in Australia. Rudd said there was considerable potential to develop a commercial relationship between the two countries. South Sudan has vast oil reserves, agricultural and mineral resources and will look to countries with expertise in these areas to help develop the infrastructure required to kickstart global trade. However, Rudd flagged that continuing violence in the region poses serious challenges to the future of the new nation. "The Australian Government remains deeply concerned at the ongoing serious violence in the border states of Southern Kordofan, including in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. Sudan and South Sudan must redouble their efforts to resolve outstanding matters peacefully by negotiation, not unilateral action."

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