Energy, Water Minister Uzi Landau at press conference_390.
(photo credit: Gidon Sharon)
In the first official agreement between Israel and South Sudan, Israel Military
Industries Ltd. signed a pact to cooperate on water infrastructure and
technology development during a ceremony at the Knesset on Monday.
see this as a privilege to be the first [sector in Israel] to sign an agreement
with the new state,” Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said in a statement
aimed at Akec Paul Mayom, water and irrigation minister of South
“We will continue to do everything possible in order to assist
you. You are among friends.”
Zvika Fox, IMI’s vice president of strategy
and marketing, signed the framework agreement on behalf of Israel. The agreement
outlined plans for cooperation between the two countries on desalination,
irrigation, water transport and purification, according to the Energy and Water
The meeting took place in a warm and friendly atmosphere, with
an opening address by Landau, who said he admired “the spirit of freedom and
adherence to an idea” of the people of South Sudan.
“I am very pleased
and excited to meet the people of this wonderful state,” he said. “It is not
hard to feel a sense of togetherness, as well as to notice the great
similarities between the people of both countries.”
Both peoples, Landau
said, have had to stand up for their existence, and Israel has much to pass on
to South Sudan.
“The lessons from the stories of our people are similar,”
he added. “We have experienced... inhumanity. Our duty is to ensure that this
does not happen again.”
The minister stressed that Israel had “much
knowledge and much to contribute” from its experience regarding water and said
he felt this was “the beginning of fruitful cooperation.”
Landau that his country has been facing particularly difficult times in the
economic sphere, as Khartoum has been disrupting South Sudan’s oil
“Sudan asks us for $36 on every barrel of oil going through its
territory, while other countries throughout Africa demand tens of cents only,”
Mayom said. “This is absolutely unprecedented. Our economy is sinking.
have no other resource by which to rebuild our economy.”
Citing the lack
of oil refineries in South Sudan, Landau suggested that in the framework of
bilateral cooperation the county transfer its oil to Israeli
“This way we will help you solve various problems in your
area,” he said. “We will be pleased to examine this.”