Israel will send development mission to S.Sudan

Netanyahu, S.Sudanese president Kiir meet in Jerusalem; PM tells Kiir J'lem will send mission to help develop the country.

December 20, 2011 15:38
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, S.Sudan pres Salva Kiir

Prime Minister Netanyahu, S.Sudan pres Salva Kiir_311. (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)


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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 Tuesday.

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 meeting.

“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 experience.”

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.

“Israel 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 Nyuon.

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 be returned.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, during his meeting with Kiir, said Israel intended to appoint a non-resident ambassador to the country this week.

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