Israel offers assistance to South Sudan

South Sudan President Salva Kiir visits the Hall of Names at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Tuesday. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN)—Israel has agreed to send a fact-finding mission to the new country of South Sudan to assess how it can best help meet its needs for technological assistance, and help develop its agriculture and water resources.

The Prime Minister’s Office made the announcement following meetings between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in Jerusalem.

Peres told the visitor that Israel would be pleased to build on its history of cooperation in the development of the country. “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’s talks with Netanyahu were said to have concentrated on finding a solution to the problem of illegal immigrants to Israel from that country. The Jerusalem Post reported that Netanyahu was to offer to fly as many Sudanese nationals as possible to South Sudan.

The breakaway republic of South Sudan, most of whose population observe Christian and traditional African beliefs, declared independence on July 10. Israel recognized South Sudan the following day.