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South Sudan to uphold ties with Israel, despite pressure
By LAHAV HARKOV
08/29/2011
MK Danon visits new African country to discuss helping Sudanese refugees return to their homeland.
 
South Sudan will uphold diplomatic relations with Israel despite Palestinian pressure, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir told MK Danny Danon (Likud) on Monday.

Kiir said that Hamas leaders Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh told him that as an Arab state, his country should cut ties with Israel.

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“I told them that I see Israeli embassies in Jordan and Egypt, and South Sudan is not an Arab state,” Kiir explained to Danon, who flew to the world’s youngest country on a visit intended to strengthen diplomatic ties and discuss refugees.

Kiir also agreed to Danon’s request that the future South Sudanese embassy in Israel be built in Jerusalem, and he said he would visit the country.

The new African country’s Deputy Parliament Speaker Daniel Akot said that “Israel is like a big brother to South Sudan,” and recounted that Israeli flags were waved at the state’s declaration of independence, 59 days ago.

Kiir asked Danon to promote vocational training for Sudanese refugees in Israel, so they could successfully return to their homeland.

“The Sudanese people have undergone ups and downs, but its luck has improved with the establishment of a new, civilized state,” Danon said. “The world must help rehabilitate the Sudanese people and support the refugees who left families and homes behind by helping them return safely to their new state.”

On Tuesday, Danon plans to meet with former refugees who returned to South Sudan after working in Israel.

Danon said he intends to discuss with them ways to streamline the process of sending refugees from Israel after vocational training.

In meetings with the Sudanese Industry and Trade Minister, Foreign Minister and Finance Minister on Monday, Danon also discussed ways the new African state can work with Israel, pointing out that South Sudan has oil, gold, silver, lead, copper and other resources.

“Israel’s technological wealth and South Sudan’s wealth of natural resources are a sure recipe for prosperity in both states,” he said.
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