June 8, 2011 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar, is in New York in the United States of America (USA) to attend a special high level session of the United Nations General Assembly on HIV/AIDS starting on Wednesday.
World leaders are invited to the special conference to discuss the worldwide response to the pandemic disease, which has so far killed 25 million people around the world since 1981. Around 30 world heads of state, 10 from Africa are expected to attend the session.
Vice President Machar will represent the soon-to-be independent Republic of South Sudan during the special session. The region will formally become the 193rd member of the world nations from July 9, 2011, following its overwhelming vote for independence from the rest of Sudan in a self-determination’s referendum, provided for in the 2005 North-South peace deal, and conducted in January this year.
HIV/AIDS has become the most life threatening issue in South Sudan after the 21 years of the Sudan’s North-South civil war which ended in 2005 and killed more than 2 million people. South Sudan authorities this year announced that more than 116,000 people already live with HIV/AIDS in the region.
Machar is also scheduled to meet with the US administration in Washington, DC during his visit to the country. He is also expected to meet with South Sudanese community in the Diaspora before he finally meets with the US administration.