Will South Sudan transit from NAM Observer status to Full Membership?

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Will South Sudan transit from NAM Observer status to Full Membership?
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H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of South Sudan, arrived in the country via Ethiopian Airlines, touching down at Entebbe International Airport a few minutes past 3 pm. Salva Kiir is in Uganda to represent South Sudan in the 19th NAM summit, with high hopes of securing full membership in the movement, thereby ending the country’s over a decade-long observer status.

South Sudan became an observer state in NAM in 2012, following its independence from Sudan. This status allows participation in NAM meetings and discussions but excludes certain positions and voting on resolutions. Despite being an observer, South Sudan actively engages in NAM activities, attending summits, ministerial meetings, and working groups, contributing to discussions on issues affecting developing nations.

One may question the necessity of full membership when South Sudan's participation is assured as an observer. However, the benefits are substantial, including a greater voice in influencing NAM's agenda and decisions.

Full membership would enable South Sudan to advocate more effectively for its interests, ensuring enhanced access to resources. NAM provides various resources and technical assistance to member states, and full membership could facilitate South Sudan's access, promoting development and addressing challenges.

Additionally, full membership signifies South Sudan's complete integration into the Non-Aligned Movement, potentially enhancing its international recognition and diplomatic standing.

Nevertheless, South Sudan faces challenges on its path to full membership, such as internal issues like political instability, conflict, and humanitarian challenges.

Some NAM member states might perceive these issues as hindrances to full compliance with NAM's principles and obligations. Tensions with Sudan and other regional neighbours could also influence South Sudan's journey towards full NAM membership.

The lack of a formal timeline or set criteria for transitioning from observer status to full membership adds complexity to the membership process, requiring further engagement and a demonstration of commitment to NAM's principles.

Even in its observer status, South Sudan has raised various issues at NAM forums, including peacebuilding, development assistance, and regional cooperation.

In the NAM, 17 countries, including Brazil, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Costa Rica, Serbia, Mexico, and Ukraine, currently hold observer status.

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