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Recognition of new state crucial

Whilst the future of Sudan will ultimately be determined by the Sudanese people and their leaders, the response of the international community to the creation of a new southern Sudanese nation will also be key.

If a slide back to civil war is to be averted, international recognition, not just by the United Nations and global powers but also by the African Union, will be crucial.

Whilst some African leaders may fear that Southern Sudanese independence could encourage other secessions across the continent this need not be the case and did not occur in 1993 when Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia.

Should voters in the southern Sudan territory opt for independence, the international community should act swiftly to offer recognition and in so doing provide the newborn nation with the legitimacy it will need as it takes its first shaky steps towards creating a stable secure democracy in one of the poorest places on earth.

Stefan Simanowitz

London, NW3