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Zuma to raise Sudan violence en route to South Sudan independence ceremony

media Sudanese President Omar el-Beshir AFP/Khaled Desouki

South African President Jacob Zuma was set to raise his country’s concerns about violence in Darfur, South Kordofan and Abyei in a meeting with his Sudanese counterpart Omar el Beshir in Khartoum Friday.

A high-level South African delegation, including Foreign Minister Maite Nkoane Mashebane, accompanied Zuma and was set to South Sudan’s independence celebrations in Juba Saturday.

Nkoane Mashebane said South Africa will be among the first countries to recognise the world’s newest nation.

Pretoria will carefully balance it relations with the Khartoum government and the administration of the African Union’s youngest member

South Africa has been closely involved in training South Sudanese public servants.

Nkoane Mashebane is chair of the African Union committee on post-conflict reconstruction in Sudan.

The minister says South Africa remains concerned about conflict in various parts of what tomorrow ceases to be Africa’s largest country.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu heads a group of elder statesmen congratulating South Sudan on its imminent independence, but voicing concern over violence along the new border.

The elders’ group has sent a letter to South Sudan president Salva Kiir ahead of Saturday’s celebrations urging him to foster good relations with Khartoum.

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