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Kenya rushes to seal South Sudan ties

JUBA, Jul 11 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has called for the immediate establishment of a joint ministerial commission to spearhead cooperation between Kenya and the newly Independent Republic of South Sudan.

The joint commission, he said, will provide the framework for deepening of bilateral ties and explore new frontiers of engagement for the peoples of the two neighbouring states.

The vice president made the proposal on Sunday at State House in Juba, south Sudan where he held talks with president Salva Kiir.

He was accompanied by Information and Communications minister Samuel Pogishio, Kitui South MP Isaac Muoki, and ambassadors Elijah Mativo and Cleland Leshore.

The Vice President was in Juba on the second day of the country\’s independence celebrations following an invitation by President Kiir.

President Salva Kiir acknowledged the role Mr Musyoka Played in the 13 year long negotiations that led to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in Nairobi in 2005.

"The Republic of South Sudan will forever be indebted to you and other leaders who helped us realize the dream of peace and freedom" President Kiir said.

Mr Musyoka who is on a two-day visit also visited the John Garang mausoleum and the widow of the fallen hero.

The vice president congratulated President Kiir and the people of South Sudan on the occasion of their independence and pledged Kenya\’s continued support to the new state.

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Noting that the two countries have a long history, Mr Musyoka expressed confidence that Kenya will benefit from the peace dividend following her long-drawn involvement in that country\’s peace process.

Mr Musyoka who played a key role in the peace negotiations observed that the independence of south Sudan was a boon to regional peace and integration efforts and invited the new state to join the east African community.

"For me, I have a personal sense of joy and satisfaction for the people of South Sudan having been deeply involved in the search for peace in this country," he said.

The two leaders concurred that there was urgent need to expedite the construction of the oil pipeline and the railway line linking the port of Lamu to Juba saying that it will shorten the distance between the two countries and spur development.

President Kiir thanked the government and people of Kenya for their support during the struggle for his country\’s freedom and invited Kenyan businessmen and investors to take advantage of the investment opportunities in south Sudan.

 Kenya has for the last two years helped train members of the civil service for the Government of Southern Sudan and has currently seconded eighty (80) senior government officers to prepare the new country\’s public service work force.

Mr Musyoka also encouraged a new South Sudan to join the East African Community at appropriate time.

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