Happy Independence, South Sudan!

The Republic of South Sudan officially becomes independent today, the result of a referendum held exactly six months ago in which Southerners voted overwhelmingly to secede from North Sudan. Congratulations to the people of the world’s newest country – whatever challenges lie ahead, you have fought long and hard for this achievement, and I hope you enjoy this day to the fullest extent.

Please treat this as an open thread, and if you are tracking events in Sudan on Twitter, I suggest following @glcarlstrom, @bechamilton, @wasilalitaha, @maggiefick, @rovingbandit, @SudaneseThinker, and @simsimt for coverage, along with a host of others.

From the US side, Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Special Envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, and other diplomats are set to attend. It will be interesting to see who else attends – and what Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, who is also scheduled to be there, has to say to his former countrymen. It will also be interesting to see who recognizes South Sudan, and in what order.

Please post your reactions in the comments, and I’ll update with any critical information.