Israel to send delegation to assist South Sudan
Netanyahu says delegation will examine ways to help new country; announcement comes after meeting with Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Jerusalem.
Israel will shortly send a delegation to South Sudan to see how to help the new country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Tuesday, after the premier met South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Jerusalem.
The announcement came after Kiir told President Shimon Peres, at a meeting in Jerusalem, that South Sudan wanted to widen cooperation with Israel, especially in the field of technology, agriculture and water development.
Peres promised Israel would help the new country develop. "The first link between Israel and Sudan was created in the 1960s, when then-prime minister Levi Eshkol and I - at the time deputy defense minister - met in Paris with local leaders from South Sudan and we gave you wide-ranging agricultural and infrastructure assistance," he said.
Kiir arrived in Jerusalem Tuesday. His talks with Netanyahu are understood to have also focused on illegal immigrants to Israel, and the Jerusalem Post daily reported that Netanyahu had planned to ask Kiir to accept as many Sudanese nationals as possible, whom Israel would fly to South Sudan. Israel recognized South Sudan a day after it declared independence in July.
Netanyahu is planning to visit sub-Saharan Africa in February. Although his schedule has not been finalized, security considerations make it unlikely he will include South Sudan in his itinerary.
South Sudan, where most people follow Christian and traditional African beliefs, declared independence on July 10 in line with a referendum that was the culmination of a 2005 peace deal ending decades of civil war with the north.