Former President and African Union High Representative for Somalia, Jerry John Rawlings, has participated in a ceremony marking the admission of South Sudan to the African Union.
South Sudan President, Salva Kiir attended the ceremony in Addis Ababa on Monday during which South Sudan was presented with a certificate of membership by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Mr Jean Ping.
A statement from the office of the former President said the South Sudan flag was raised at the AU Headquarters in an emotional ceremony.
South Sudan gained independence from North Sudan on July 9 after an AU brokered peace process. South Sudan becomes the 54th member of the continental body.
The statement said former President Rawlings in discussions with President Salva Kiir, indicated his desire to support conflict resolution on the continent.
The South Sudan President’s comments were followed by an announcement by his Foreign Minister, Deng Alor Kuol, that his country was ready to send troops to Somalia to join the 9,000-strong Africa Union mission for Somalia (AMISOM) troops on the ground.
President Rawlings who was in Ethiopia to participate in the “One Africa – One Voice Against Hunger” Day, aimed at further highlighting the famine in the Horn of Africa. He has since left Addis Ababa for South Africa where he would meet South African President Jacob Zuma.
On Wednesday he held a meeting with members of the donor community including UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), OXFAM and Gift of the Givers Foundation.
The former President was briefed on the efforts being made by the South African community to support the famine in Somalia.
In collaboration with the South African Government and corporate South Africa, Gift of the Givers has flown six humanitarian flights directly to Mogadishu to support displaced persons in the Somalia.
President Rawlings expressed his gratitude to the donor community and urged them to publicise their activities beyond the Southern African Region so that other parts of Africa would know what they were doing for Somalia.