Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday held talks with the president of newly independent South Sudan, Salva Kiir, on the telephone and offered Israeli help, the premier’s office said.
“The people of Israel want the success of your country. We know how difficult it is to start with nothing,” he told Kiir, four days after the declaration of South Sudan’s independence.
“We have the experience and we’ve helped a lot of African countries in the areas of infrastructure, development and agriculture,” he said, according to a statement issued by his office.
Israel, which itself was established in 1948, formally recognised the world’s newest nation on Sunday.
Netanyahu at the time described impoverished but resources-rich South Sudan as a “peace-seeking country” and said Israel “would be pleased to cooperate with it in order to ensure its development and prosperity.”
The overtures suggest Israel would seek diplomatic ties with the government in Juba. The Jewish state does not have relations with Khartoum, which it has accused of serving as a base for Islamic militants.
According to Israeli media, experts from Israel, especially in agriculture, are already active in South Sudan.
The Jewish state supported the rebel movement of the mainly Christian and animist south in its decades of struggle against the Khartoum government in Muslim north Sudan.