December 6, 2013 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese president Salva Kiir, in a bid attract foreign investors, affirmed his government’s commitment to build and strengthen bilateral relations with European countries.
- France’s President Francois Hollande (L) greets South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in the courtyard of the Elysee Palace at the start of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa, in Paris, December 6, 2013. Forty-two representatives, including presidents and heads of government take part in the two-day summit. (Photo Reuters/Benoit Tessier)
Kiir reportedly made this remarks on Wednesday shortly before leaving the country to attend the African security summit held in Paris, France.
The president’s newly appointed press secretary, Ateny Wek Ateny, said the South Sudan leader was attending a meeting that was organised by his French counterpart, Francoise Hollande.
“The summit will be attended by heads of state from other African countries. It will discuss peace and security. But the president will also hold side meetings with the French president and other leaders to discuss of mutual benefits”, Ateny said in a statement aired on the state-owned SSTV.
The official further said Kiir’s meeting with world leaders at the summit would mainly focus on strengthening bilateral relations with their respective countries, looking at trade and available investment opportunities for their companies in the new nation.
He did not, however, reveal which leaders Kiir was expected to meet at the sidelines of the summit, also attended by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon.
Meanwhile, although Kiir traveled with a full complement of ministers and armed officers, his political strategists and intellectual allies were excluded from the trip.
Critics say the South Sudan leader no longer commands faith from allies as the country struggles to turn around a sluggish economy worsened by last year’s abrupt oil shutdown.
They further claim that Kiir’s 23 July cabinet reshuffle has seen him lose close friends.