|UN chief has said "South Sudan ranks at bottom of almost all human development indicators" [Reuters]
The United Nations Security Council has unanimously voted to recommend the admission of the Republic of South Sudan as the newest member of the UN.
After a five-line resolution adopted on Wednesday by the 15-nation council, the General Assembly is expected to admit the new African country as its 193rd UN member on Thursday.
"South Sudan's UN accession was a 'historic moment for Africa,'" Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the Council, said on Wednesday.
The move comes after South Sudan achieved independence on Saturday before tens of thousands of its citizens and numerous foreign leaders, including Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.
South voted for secession from the North in a January referendum, under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended a 20-year civil war between the North and South Sudan.
Sudan became independent in 1956 but was long plagued by conflict between its mainly Muslim Arabic-speaking North and animist and Christian South.
However, the new state faces formidable challenges ahead.
The UN secretary-general said, "On the day of its birth, South Sudan ranks at the bottom of almost all human development indicators."
In addition, Sudan and South Sudan need to reach agreement on a range of unresolved disputes including borders, citizenship and the sharing of oil resources.
They have yet to work-out a revenue model for the oil, as almost 80 per cent of petroleum reserves lie in the South, while refineries and pipelines are located in the North.
Meanwhile, Sudan's parliament on Wednesday gave initial approval to cancel the citizenship of South Sudanese, state news agency SUNA said.
Besides, both sides claim the oil-rich border region of Abyei, whereas northern military has been battling pro-southern fighters in the northern state of Southern Kordofan.
In May troops from Khartoum invaded Abyei forcing thousands of local Dinka tribes to flee creating a humanitarian crisis.
However, under international pressure, Omar al-Bashir agreed to withdraw its forces from the town to be replaced by Ethiopian peace keeping forces.
According to the agreement, the UN was to send 4,200 soldiers from Ethiopia to Abyei.
Alain Le Roy, the UN peacekeeping chief, said on Wednesday, "The first 1,640 troops of a 4,200-strong Ethiopian UN peace force designated to deploy in Abyei would arrive by July 20."
The international community, and in particular the US, China, Russia and the European Union, were quick to recognise the world's newest country, which despite its vast oil reserves is among the poorest in the world.