By Mamer Abraham
South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit has taken advantage of the United Nations General Assembly’s sidelines to build networks.
The Head of State had been spotted building merits at the New York summit in the United States to create more friends as well as entice investors who would contribute to the country’s sustainable development.
According to the Presidential Press Unit, Salva Kiir met Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera where Netanyahu invited Kiir and the Malawian President to Israel in a bid to build ties and increase services to African countries.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu said that he is determined to strengthen ties with African countries and increase cooperation in innovation, agriculture, food security and water,” read the statement from the Presidential press.
According to a Presidential Press report, Netanyahu pledged to cooperate for the stability and development of Africa.
“The Prime Minister expressed Israel’s readiness for cooperation that could contribute to African stability and prosperity.
Kiir and the Malawian president also assured the Israeli president of their willingness to visit Israel in honor of the invitation.
The president also held another meeting with the British Minister for International Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell, where he discussed the progress made in the implementation of the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).
Kiir focused on wooing the UK to invest in South Sudan to help in satisfactory service delivery.
Unfortunately, the United States government objected to President Salva Kiir meeting President Joe Biden due it said “lack of trust and confidence linked to corruption and alleged misappropriation of funds.”
“We have waited more than 12 years to see South Sudan’s transitional leaders demonstrate a genuine commitment to these values by making substantive progress in fighting corruption, ending armed conflict, implementing reforms, and improving transparency and public financial management,” the letter reads in part.
The letter signed by Jonathan Pratt, recounted the historic support of the United States government to South Sudan, which it said aimed at strengthening human rights, accountability and transparency.
“The US support for South Sudan predates your country’s independence by decades and is based on foundational values, including human rights, the accountability of a government to its people, and the obligation of a nation’s leaders to use public revenue transparently to meet the public’s needs,”
The US also expected South Sudan to hold free, fair and credible elections and open civic and political space before, during and after elections.
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee and the US Ambassador to South Sudan, Michael J. Adler, were assigned to meet Salva Kiir.
However, till the president addressed the United Nations General Assembly, there was no clear report of a meeting with the US government officials in New York, according to the presidential press unit report.
Despite President Kiir’s failure to meet the US President, he used the opportunity to meet various other leaders in a bid to advance South Sudan’s diplomatic ties and lobby for cushioning of the humanitarian crisis and forge a solution to the boiling crisis in the Sudan.
Recap of meetings
On September 20, 2023, Kiir met with Switzerland’s President Alain Berset for a bilateral relation where the two leaders committed to sustainable development and prosperity of their two nations.
“The discussions reaffirmed the two leaders’ unwavering commitment to realizing the aspirations of their respective populations by fostering sustainable development and prosperity,” read the statement from the Presidential Press Unit.
The Swiss government has long rooted in the developmental activities in South Sudan since 1980 where it delivered humanitarian activities to the South Sudanese people.
On September 19, Kiir met African leaders where he promised South Sudan’s commitment towards the restoration of peace and stability in the region.
On the same day, the head of state also met with the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the two leaders discussed the roadmap for the extension of the transitional period that will end on February 22, 2025.
Guterres stressed the significance of free, fair and credible elections to the country come December 22, 2024. He further called for Kiir’s efforts in the resolution of the raging conflict in Sudan.
“Kiir and Guterres further discussed the impacts of the conflict in the Sudan, on South Sudan, the sustainability of humanitarian assistance and coordinated regional and international endeavors to end the conflict,” the statement from the office of the president continued.
Upon his departure to New York last Sunday, the presidential press revealed that the head of state would unveil his strategy for ending the war in Sudan to UNGA.
The summit is held under the theme; “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress and the Sustainability for All” – affords an opportunity for member states to take mid-way assessment on the successes and shortfalls towards attaining the Global Goals.