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US special envoy to attend South Sudan investment forum

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December 3, 2013 (JUBA) – The United States special envoy for Sudan and South Sudan is due to attend a two-day investment conference starting on 4 December in the South Sudan capital, Juba.

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U.S. special envoy Donald Booth talks to reporters after a meeting with the Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti (SUNA)

Donald Booth, according to the US Department of State, will meet government officials, diplomatic partners and civil society members and discuss several issues, including economic development, peace and security, human rights and good governance.

"The trip will special envoy Booth’s second visit to South Sudan in his new capacity and will focus on U.S. support for investment and sustainable development in South Sudan”, party reads a statement from the office of the spokesperson.

The envoy will attend the conference to support US investment in South Sudan and to recognise the importance of South Sudan’s efforts to enhance its business and investment climate, it further noted.

Over 600 "real" investors are expected to attend the two-day investment forum organised under the theme, "Investment for Economic Diversification and Prosperity".

The forum, officials say, will showcase business and investment opportunities in South Sudan, crafting a clear road map for the country’s diversification programme.

WORRYING RELATIONS

Last month, the Sudanese government strongly dismissed media reports, which claimed it had decided to suspend cooperation with Booth, appointed the US special envoy to the country in September this year.

The reports quoted unnamed officials as saying that Khartoum informed Washington that any role for the US should begin with seeking to normalise bilateral ties between the two countries and address the issue of US-imposed sanctions and Sudan’s inclusion on a blacklist of states that sponsor terrorism.

Sudan was included on the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 over allegations of harbouring Islamist militants, despite reports of the former being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the so-called ‘war on terror’ over the past decade.

In 2011, America promised to remove Sudan’s terrorism designation if it helped facilitate South Sudan’s referendum and formally recognise its results. South Sudan voted to secede from Sudan in January 2011, declaring its independence six months later.

This was postponed, however, after the outbreak of conflict in the southern border regions of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

(ST)

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