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Russia is willing to have good relations with South Sudan - envoy

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March 14, 2008 (JUBA) – The Russian Ambassador to Sudan has paid a visit to Juba where he expressed the readiness of his government to build good relations with the government of southern Sudan.

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Envarbik M. Fazeliyanov

The Russian Ambassador to Sudan Envarbik M. Fazeliyanov arrived in Juba, Southern Sudan on Wednesday February 12 morning with the aims of promoting relations between the Russian Government and the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS).

Fazeliyanov expressed his governments readiness to build and maintain long term relations between the two governments "I am speaking about strategic co-operations for a long period…it is a great honour to meet leaders of GoSS and we hope to have good cooperatives between Russia and Sudan; and in particular Southern Sudan."

The ambassador also paid a courtesy call on the President of GOSS this morning. The President reiterated the call for the Russian Government to contribute positively in the implementation of the CPA.

Among the several meetings with the GoSS officials, the Ambassador met with the GoSS Minister of Energy and Mining John Luk Jok and discussed the possibility of Russia building a refinery in Southern Sudan and the exploration of oil and minerals.

Cirino Hiteng Ofuho the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Regional Cooperation briefed the ambassador on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and opportunities of future investment for Russia within the Southern Sudan.

Fazeliyanov also met with Barnaba Marial Benjamin the Minister of Regional Cooperation to gain extensive knowledge about the South and the challenges facing the CPA, in order for Russia to identify other areas and means in which they can assist.

Barnaba emphasized and expressed in regards to the progress of the CPA that there are several important issues that needed to be addressed and resolved in order for the full implementation of the CPA to be carried out, and that there was a need for the assistance and influence of the International Community regarding those issues.

One topic in particular concerned the Abyei issue which the Minister pointed out is “…a dynamic situation that needs international assistance…” the minister said.

Barnaba further said the Abyei Border Commission (ABC) was appointed both from the SPLM, NCP, and International Experts to draw out borders and write a report, a report that should have been binding; however the report was rejected by the NCP.

There are currently eighteen consulates within Juba, and six donor countries, however Russia being absent from the number of consulates opened in Juba the Minister prompted and proposed for the Russian federation to open one in South Sudan.

The Minister went on to explain to the ambassador how the interim constitution and our mandate allowed GOSS to have direct bilateral relations with foreign governments.

Russia have buildings within South Sudan, one of them being a fruit factory and the other a sow mill; both in Wau, Western Bhar el Ghazal. The sow mill is currently left idle in Wau as during the war period the machineries were dismantled and taken to Khartoum.

(ST)

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