Prime Minister Netanyahu, S.Sudan pres Salva Kiir_311.
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Jerusalem will send a government delegation to South Sudan shortly to see how
Israel can help the development of the fledgling country, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu told South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on
Kiir, on one of his first visits abroad since South Sudan
declared independence in July, arrived after midnight Tuesday for a working
visit of less than 24 hours. Diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said the South
Sudanese requested that the visit be kept at a low profile. As a result, there
were no public statements.
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Before meeting Netanyahu, Kiir visited Yad
Vashem and also met with President Shimon Peres. According to a statement put
out by Peres’ office, Kiir was effusive of his praise of Israel during his
“I am very moved to be in Israel and to walk on the soil of the
Promised Land, and with me are all South Sudanese people,” Kiir was quoted as
saying. “ Israel has always supported the South Sudanese people. Without you, we
would not have arisen. You struggled alongside us in order to allow the
establishment of South Sudan and we are interested in learning from your
During their meeting, Peres reminded Kiir that when he was
deputy defense minister in the 1960s, he met – along with then prime minister
Levi Eshkol – in Paris with local leaders from southern Sudan, and provided them
with assistance in agriculture and infrastructure development.
has supported, and will continue to support, your country in all areas in order
to strengthen and develop it,” Peres said. He termed the birth of South Sudan “a
milestone” in the history of the Middle East.
Kiir was accompanied by
Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial, and Defense Minister John Kong
Among the topics the Israeli leaders raised with Kiir was the
illegal migration to Israel from Africa and the possibility of repatriating
infiltrators to the new country.
One of the ideas raised was for Israel
to help South Sudan build agricultural settlements where the infiltrators would
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, during his meeting with
Kiir, said Israel intended to appoint a non-resident ambassador to the country