South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir wore his black hat given to him by former President George W. Bush as he signed the interim Constitution.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (C) walks during the Independence Day ceremony in Juba July 9, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese danced and cheered as their new country formally declared its independence on Saturday, a hard-won separation from the north that also plunged the fractured region into a new period of uncertainty. (REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
Christian groups had been championing the southern Sudanese since the 19th century. And their efforts paid off in 2000 when George W. Bush was elected president of the United States. He elevated Sudan to the top of his foreign policy agenda, and in 2005, the American government pushed the southern rebels and the central government — both war weary and locked in a military stalemate — to sign a comprehensive peace agreement that guaranteed the southerners the right to secede.
On Saturday, one man held up a sign that said “Thank You George Bush.”
The American-backed treaty set the stage for a referendum this January in which southerners voted by 98.8 percent for independence.
At 1:20 p.m. on Saturday, the southerners officially proclaimed their freedom…
…South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, wearing his signature black cowboy hat given to him by Mr. Bush, signed the interim Constitution. Then the speeches began.
George W. Bush liberated more than 50,000,000 people during his time in office. Today the people of South Sudan were liberated thanks to his efforts.
A man prays at the John Garang Mausoleum before the Independence Day celebrations in South Sudan’s capital Juba, July 9, 2011. Tens of thousands of South Sudanese danced and cheered as their new country formally declared its independence on Saturday. (REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya)