Africa: Salva Kiir Off to South Africa for Talks With Ramaphosa

Top: Oil storage facilities at Bentiu, Unity State, South Sudan. Bottom-left: South African flag. Bottom-right- Flag of South Sudan.

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Thursday left for South Africa for a three-day official visit following an invitation from President Cyril Ramaphosa, his office said.

Kiir's spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said the president was accompanied by two cabinet ministers and the managing director of state-owned oil firm Nilepet for the diplomatic and trade talks.

Mr Ateny said the delegation will have various side meetings while in South Africa.

President Kiir will also brief President Ramaphosa on the remaining days left to the 100-day deadline for the formation of a unity government, security matters and the issue of the number of states and boundaries. The deadline for forming a governmnet of national unity is February 22.

"As we all know, South Africa is a leading member of C5, which is one of the groups supplementing Igad on South Sudan peace process. President Kiir will brief President Ramaphosa on the remaining part of R-ARCSS particularly on the area of security arrangements, the issue of 32 states and the lapse of the remaining days ahead of formation of [the] unity government," Mr Ateny said.

He added that the petroleum minister and Nilepet boss will have meetings with their South African counterparts.

"The president will also be having bilateral talks on the area of trade and petroleum, that is why the minister of petroleum and the Nilepet managing director are relevant in this delegation," he added.

South Africa's Deputy President David Mabuza who heads the Independent Boundary Commission recently proposed an arbitration of the contentious issue on the number of states and boundaries.

Mr Mabuza said the proposal regarding to the number of state and boundaries should be discussed over an extended period of 90 days. This suggestion was warmly welcomed by the government but opposed by the opposition parties led by Mr Riek Machar and Dr Lam Akol.

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