September 16, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir, has extended an official invitation to the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, expressing willingness to implement the collapsing peace agreement which he signed with his former first deputy, Riek Machar, in August last year.
- South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma (R) shakes hands with the visiting South Sudanese President Salva Kiir at his office in Pretoria on 24 October 2015 (Photo Moses Lomayat)
South Africa is one of the countries in the continent which played a supportive role to the regional led mediation to reunite fragmented ruling party in South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and to end the 21 months of civil war.
The invitation was delivered by the new First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai, who went to South Africa last week in an attempt to solicit support from the South African government and its ruling African national congress (ANC).
The support-seeking mission was based on the promise to implement the agreement and Arusha reunification of the SPLM.
The newly appointed Minister of Petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who acted as spokesperson during the visit to South Sudan, told reporters on Thursday upon arrival at Juba airport that the visit to South Africa was to discuss bilateral issues between the two countries and solicit recognition of the controversial leadership of the new vice president, Gai, who replaced Machar in July.
He said the South African president has accepted the invitation from president Kiir to discuss bilateral issues in Juba.
"The invitation has been accepted and President Zuma will be visiting South Sudan soon to show solidarity with the people of South Sudan and also the implementation of the agreement and all the bilateral issues," announced Gatkuoth.
He said Gai, while in South Africa, met his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, to deliver an invitation from President Kiir to Jacob Zuma.
South Africa, he said, has been training South Sudanese on state and national administration and project implementation and still wants to continue with these trainings as part of its support to the young country.