Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU member states must recognise independent South Sudan

2nd February 2011

ECR Group foreign affairs spokesman Charles Tannock MEP, speaking today in a debate in the European Parliament, called on all EU member states to recognise South Sudan as a sovereign independent state when it declares independence on 9 July 2011.

Dr Tannock said that such a step would be a strong signal to Khartoum and the international community that South Sudan has the unequivocal backing of the EU.

Dr Tannock welcomed southerners' overwhelming vote in favour of independence but said that a sovereign South Sudan needed the EU's help more than ever in order to survive.

He said that although South Sudan had made great strides under the internationally-monitored Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the new country would be vulnerable to aggression from Khartoum unless the EU offered its comprehensive and unequivocal support to South Sudan.

South Sudan should also be the European Union's number one priority terms of development assistance and humanitarian aid, Dr Tannock said during the debate, which focused on the conduct and aftermath of last month’s referendum in the currently autonomous region of South Sudan.

Dr Tannock cautioned against believing that South Sudan's independence would be a panacea for its problems, pointing out that the new country will be one of the poorest and least developed parts of the world.