This article was originally published in English
Salva Kiir, wearing a cowboy hat, met with his Russian counterpart in the Kremlin, where they strengthened relations as Russia seeks new allies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir, appear to have strengthened relations after a meeting in Moscow.
The two met Thursday in the Kremlin.
The two would have agreed to expand their relations in energy, trade and, above all, oil.
They also discussed political and security issues in South Sudan, which is preparing for its first-ever presidential elections late next year.
Kiir has led the country since it became independent in 2011.
According to the Kremlin, Putin said the development of oil refineries in South Sudan with the participation of Russian companies would strengthen ties.
“This is just the beginning. We have many good opportunities in various fields, including energy,” Putin said.
Currently, the Russian group Safinat is working on an oil refinery in South Sudan.
The Russian invitation to Kiir came at a time when world powers continue to ask African nations for support over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
South Sudan is under pressure from the United States and other allies to speed up implementation of a peace deal signed in 2018 that aims to end a five-year civil war and prepare for elections.
For its part, South Sudan wants arms embargoes lifted. Russia, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, could – in theory – help do this.
At the meeting, Kiir noted that “the world dictates that no one can survive or succeed alone,” and told Putin that the young nation needs “strong friends and you are one of them.”
Additionally, they would have addressed peace and security in Africa and broader international issues.
The conflict in neighboring Sudan has led to the arrival of thousands of people to South Sudan, whose humanitarian and other resources were already severely depleted.
It is the second time that the South Sudanese president visits Russia.
Kiir attended the first Russia-Africa summit in 2019.
Putin said Russia would support South Sudan in managing its internal political situation and ensuring security.
“We will do everything possible to support you in this area,” Putin said, pledging the country’s support to its newest allies.