South Sudan Becomes New Nation

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The Republic of South Sudan will join the community of nations on Saturday.

After the military celebrations and parades, the South will have to face up to the realities it faces.

It will be one of the most underdeveloped countries on the planet. Only 15 percent of its citizens can read and fears of renewed conflict abound.

The people of the South have endured a half century of civil war and oppression by the Islamic rulers of northern Sudan that left more than 2 million dead.

The South's population is heavily Christian and black African, two groups targeted by Omar Bashir's regime.

Click play for more analyis on the situation in Sudan and the impact independence will have on the South with CBN News Senior International Correspondent Gary Lane.

American evangelist Franklin Graham visited the new nation to help celebrate its founding.

Graham's Samaritan's Purse ministry has been at work in Sudan since 1993, building churches and hospitals and providing agricultural aid.

"As I look back over the years that Samaritan's Purse has been providing relief and aid across a war-torn Sudan, it now brings me great joy and honor to attend the celebration of South Sudan's Independence Day," Graham said in a statement.

He will meet with South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, Sunday.

"There is still much that needs to be done to help the people of both countries," Graham added.  "And I pray that God will give these leaders wisdom and courage to lead their people, uniting their hearts toward the goal of reconciliation and peace."

The United Nations is expected to pass a unanimous resolution Friday to send a peacekeeping force of 7,000 military personnel and 900 international police.

Their mandate is to keep the peace and help promote development in the world's newest nation.

Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called the African country's successful split into two nations a "fragile and fraught moment."

She said the northern and southern governments must resolve issues related to the resource-rich area of Abyei and other border areas. There are also questions linked to citizenship and oil.

Rice said Sudan's government must settle all disputes in order to be removed from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list.

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