Handed final voting results that showed roughly 99% of Sudan's south wanted to secede, President Omar al-Bashir today agreed to allow part of his country to become its own nation, the New York Times reports. The vote, held last month, reflected years of exploitation and civil war between the Islamic north and the largely animist and Christian south. “Today we received these results and we accept and welcome these results because they represent the will of the southern people,” Bashir said on state TV.
In Juba, a major southern city with a good chance of becoming the new country's capital, Bashir's announcement was met with jubilation. "This is what people have been expecting, and longed for, and have achieved it,” said a referendum bureau official. “People will party. There will be disco. There will be dances. People are warming up for the celebration now.”