December 25, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The former Sudanese Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi denounced a visit made by South Sudan president Salva Kiir to Israel this week describing it as “devilish”.
- Former Sudanese Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi (Reuters)
Kiir embarked on his first visit to Israel since South Sudan became an independent state last July. He met with senior Israeli officials including president Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense minister Ehud Barak and foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.
The low-profile visit was expected to focus on repatriating illegal African migrants who sneaked into the Jewish state through Egypt’s borders over the last several years. Most of the infiltrators were from Sudan and Eritrea.
Al-Mahdi addressing an opposition gathering on Saturday warned of serious repercussions as a result of Kiir’s visit to Israel.
“The Jewish state is eager to establish relationships with new allies after it lost its traditional allies such as Turkey and the regime of [deposed President Hosni] Mubarak in Egypt” al-Mahdi said.
“The timing of the visit is inappropriate and supports the arguments of separatists in the north and puts the political forces calling for good neighborly relations with the South in a deep embarrassment” he added.
Al-Mahdi went on to say that the visit is “wrong and whoever thought about it is a devilish and a traitor and let us down [us] who are keen on close relations between the states of north and south”.
This week the Sudanese government said it was concerned about Israel-South Sudan ties because it affects the country’s interests and its national security. Khartoum said that Israel and its lobby groups constitute an important part of the international campaign to "foment" the conflict in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.