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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs visits South Sudan

From 12th to 14th May, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will visit the Republic of Sudan, including South Sudan. This is the first official visit by a European Commissioner since the referendum took place last January. Commissioner Piebalgs will underline that the Commission stands ready to do all it can to support the new country of South Sudan when it gains independence on 9 July. On 12 May Commissioner will be in Khartoum and will meet government representatives. During his visit to South Sudan (13th and 14th May), Commissioner Piebalgs will give a public speech in Juba where he is expected to emphasize the fact that Sudan is one of the EU's highest priorities in Africa, and confirm the EU's commitment to doing all it can to enable South Sudan to have a new start on the international stage following its expected independence in two months' time. […] During the visit, Commissioner Piebalgs is scheduled to meet the Sudanese Vice-President, Ali Osman Taha, and South Sudanese President, Salva Kiir Mayarditt, as well as other representatives of both governments and from the international donor community. Commissioner Piebalgs is also expected to say that private sector investment will be crucial in helping to boost South Sudan's economy and get the country on the road to economic growth. After independence, South Sudan will be one of the world's poorest and least developed countries, with one of the highest infant-mortality rates and the lowest education indicators in the world. In South Sudan, he will visit a European Union-funded project in Juba, which helps to target food insecurity in the area by providing training and expertise, for example in areas like crop forecasting, as well as raising awareness of the issue amongst stakeholders.

Source: European Commission