South Sudanese President Salva Kiir arrived in Moscow on the evening of Wednesday, September 27th, for a two-day state visit. The discussions on the bilateral agenda primarily revolve around strengthening security cooperation between South Sudan and Russia. Additionally, the two nations seek collaboration in the fields of education, healthcare, and economic development. Juba also hopes to secure Russia’s support for the imminent lifting of the arms embargo by the United Nations Security Council.
Remarkably, only four days passed between Salva Kiir’s return from New York, where he attended the 78th United Nations General Assembly, and his departure for Moscow. The swift turnaround reflects the recent strains in relations between South Sudan and the United States, as President Kiir did not meet with President Joe Biden during his stay on American soil. Conversely, his visit to Moscow was met with a grand reception.
Accompanied by a substantial delegation, including his Minister of Foreign Affairs and several high-ranking security officials, the South Sudanese President expressed his desire for strengthened ties with Moscow. During his initial meeting with President Vladimir Putin, Salva Kiir stated unequivocally, in front of the cameras, that he has “no alternative” and views Russia under Putin’s leadership as a “strong friend” that he “needs.”
President Salva Kiir particularly aspires to gain Russian support at the United Nations to lift the arms embargo in the coming months. Russia, in the context of the Ukraine conflict, is actively seeking new geopolitical allies. The country has already made investments in the South Sudanese oil sector, further underlining the depth of this burgeoning partnership.