ADDIS ABABA - The African Union admitted South Sudan as its 54th member after the new African country proclaimed independence from Sudan on July 9 following decades of conflict, the AU said.

South Sudan is one of the world's poorest nations and has inherited a string of disputes with its northern neighbor after its people voted in a January referendum to break away from Sudan -- a decision accepted by Khartoum.

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Representatives of the two countries are expected to resume AU-mediated talks next week on solving outstanding issues such as citizenship and oil revenue-sharing.


The Addis Ababa-based AU said late on Wednesday it had received more than the required majority votes to admit South Sudan as a member following a referendum held under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended a 20-year war between north and south Sudan in which more than 2 million people died.

The AU said it will hold a flag-raising ceremony to mark the membership of its newest constituent. The bloc's last entrant was Eritrea in 1993 after it split from Ethiopia following a 30-year war for independence.

The General Assembly admitted South Sudan on July 14 as the 193rd member of the United Nations.

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