South Sudan Seeks Observer Status in Arab League

By Deng Machol

JUBA, South Sudan - File photo shows Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir shaking hands at Kiir's presidential office in Juba in April 2013. (Kyodo)
JUBA, South Sudan – File photo shows Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir shaking hands at Kiir’s presidential office in Juba in April 2013. (Kyodo)

Juba – South Sudan has formally applied observer status in 22-nation regional organization of the Arab League, reported the official Egyptian Middle East news agency (MENA) on Tuesday.

The League’s main goal is to draw closer the relations between member states and to safeguard sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries.

South Sudan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Spokesperson, Amb Mawien Makol says the country have not applied for membership but to be observer in Arab League.

He argued that the decision for South Sudan to have observer status in the Arab bloc was to discuss important issues including waters of the Nile River and security, these issues need South Sudan to be present in Arab League.

The Country’s diplomat said his government haven’t submitted an officially application for membership in Arab League, but [government] was keen only in obtaining the observer status in the regional organization.

“We haven’t applied for a membership. We are not a full member. We would not pay fees to the League, so we are not required to commit to other things,” Amb. Mawien told Panafricanism.

He said South Sudanese ambassador to Cairo will be present when issues to do with South Sudan are discussed by the Arab League body.

MENA quoted report that South Sudan’s request to join the regional body would be referred to the Arab League Council which was scheduled to hold its 149th session this week at the level of the foreign ministers. If approved, South Sudan would be the 23rd member of the regional organization.

The Arab League’s current member states include: Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq, Syria (membership suspended), Tunisia, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar, the Comoros, Sudan, Palestine, Algeria, Mauritania and Libya.

Besides Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti and Comoros are the other East African states members of the League of Arab States.

The use of the Arabic language as an official language is a prerequisite to joining the Arab body.

This has been talked point for South Sudanese officials since the secession from Sudan in July 2011 to join Arab League States.

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