(Communicated by the Office of the President of Israel)
President Shimon Peres today (Tuesday), 20 December 2011, at his Jerusalem Residence, met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir.
At the start of the meeting, President Peres said, "This is a moving and historic moment for me and for the State of Israel. Israel's link with Sudan began when Prime Minister Levy Eshkol and I, as Deputy Defense Minister, met in the 1960's, in Paris, with local leaders from southern Sudan. We provided them with extensive assistance in agriculture and infrastructures. Israel has supported, and will continue to support, your country in all areas in order to strengthen and develop it. We know that you courageously and wisely struggled against all odds to establish your country and for us, the birth of South Sudan is a milestone in the history of the Middle East and in advancing the values of equality, freedom and striving for peace and good neighborly relations."
South Sudan President Kiir thanked President Peres for the warm welcome and emphasized that his visit to Israel is a special and historic moment. "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. 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.
As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children. I have come to see your success. Both Israel and South Sudan champion coexistence and peace. We have shared values. We have waged similar struggles and we will go hand-in-hand with Israel in order to strengthen and enhance bilateral strategic relations." South Sudan President Kiir emphasized that his country is interested in expanding cooperation with Israel in infrastructures, agriculture, water development and advanced technology.
At the close of their meeting, President Peres gave South Sudan President Kiir a Chanukah menorah and said that, "Tonight, we are celebrating Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. The candles that we will light symbolism light and hope and remind us all of the miracle that God wrought for us, the miracle of courage, of hope and of our survival. Please accept this antique menorah which symbolizes the similar history of our two peoples."
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today (Tuesday), 20 December 2011, in his Jerusalem office, met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir. The two agreed that an Israeli delegation would leave for South Sudan soon in order to check on how to assist the South Sudan people, who have suffered greatly in recent years, in developing their new country.