South Sudan President Visits Israel for First Time

President Salva Kiir meets Peres, tours Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial ahead of talks with Netanyahu, Lieberman and Barak.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Israel hosted on Tuesday the leader of its newest ally in Africa, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, which was recognized by Israel hours after it declared independence in July.

Israeli government officials declined to give details about the low-key, one-day visit, which political sources said was likely to focus on illegal African migration to Israel.

President Shimon Peres with South Sudan President Salva Kiir, December 20, 2011.Credit: GPO

Kiir met President Shimon Peres and toured the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem ahead of talks later in the day with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

This month Israel approved a $167 million plan to try to stem the flow of African migrants who cross into the country through its porous border with Egypt. Government figures put the number of illegal workers in Israel at over 52,000.

Netanyahu said he would visit Africa early next year where among other issues he will discuss the repatriation of migrants. South Sudan is thought to be one of his possible destinations but details of the trip have not yet been released.

Many of the migrants come from Eritrea and Sudan and cross into Israel from Egypt's Sinai desert. Israel is building a fence along the porous frontier to try to block the migrants and prevent infiltration by Islamist militants.

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.

Israel has no relations with the mainly Arab Muslim north.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

NOW: 40% OFF
Already signed up? LOG IN


הקלטות מעוז

Jewish Law Above All: Recordings Reveal Far-right MK's Plan to Turn Israel Into Theocracy

איתמר בן גביר

Why I’m Turning My Back on My Jewish Identity

Travelers looking at the Departures board at Ben Gurion Airport. The number of olim who later become yordim is unknown.

Down and Out: Why These New Immigrants Ended Up Leaving Israel

Beatrice Grannò and Simona Tabasco as Mia and Lucia in "The White Lotus."

The Reality Behind ‘The White Lotus’ Sex Work Fantasy

The Mossad hit team in Dubai. Exposed by dozens of security cameras

This ‘Dystopian’ Cyber Firm Could Have Saved Mossad Assassins From Exposure

מליאת הכנסת 28.12.22

Comeback Kid: How Netanyahu Took Back Power After 18 Months in Exile