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South Sudan: Lessons from Timor-Leste

Free – but the challenges are far from over. Photo: bbcworldservice/flickr

Like many, I was moved by the joy and happiness of the South Sudanese over the birth of their new nation. Unfortunately, South Sudan’s future may not be quite as harmonious as its independence celebrations. State structures and institutions will have to be built from scratch, which means that internal power struggles are almost a certainty.

A recent TIME blog has outlined a few lessons that UN member #193 could learn from #191, Timor-Leste:

-don’t underestimate the legacy of violence;
-avoid letting foreign workers become a source of political tension;
-and listen to Norway when setting up systems of checks and balances to track (staggeringly high) oil revenues.

To these, let me add two more recommendations, addressed specifically to UNMISS, the newly established UN peacekeeping mission to South Sudan: