Alhurra Interviews South Sudan’s Vice President

The Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar, sat down for an interview with Alhurra television after the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution admitting the newly independent Republic of South Sudan as the 193rd member of the United Nations.  Mr. Machar discussed the status of Abyei area, his vision for the Republic of South Sudan and the new country’s relations with Israel and the Arab world.  The following are excerpts of his interview (all excerpts have been translated from Arabic):

On International assistance to the newly born South Sudan

“We are a new state.  A state that has been affected by a devastating war that lasted for 50 years.  We need the support of the international community, particularly in strengthening our human resources and bringing investments to country.  We believe that we have natural resources in South Sudan but these resources should be developed so the people of the newly born South Sudan will enjoy this wealth.   We haven’t received any help from any country so far, but there are good intentions to help this new state.”

On maintaining balanced relations between South Sudan and Israel and Arab countries

“Of course we heard in the media that the state of Israel recognized the newly born state of South Sudan.  As a matter of fact, the first country that recognized the state of South Sudan was the Republic of North Sudan.  The second country to recognize the Republic of South Sudan was Egypt and the third was the United Arab Emirates.   On the tenth day, Israel recognized the newly born state.  We need international peace.  We will have relations with all Arab countries.  Israel initiated relations with us.  This is not a strange development.  All the neighboring countries to our state including Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and even Uganda have relations with Israel.  These countries are also active in Arab and Islamic politics.  Therefore, we will have relations with all the Arab and Muslim countries and even with Israel… As a matter of fact we  look forward to playing a role in solving the existing issues in the Arab world, even the issues between Israel and the Arab countries.  We fully understand the issues in the Arab world, particularly the Palestinian issue and the right to have a Palestinian state.” 

On the prospects of conflict over the Abyei region

“The Abyei region belongs to the South. Its land and people are part of the South.  But the administration of Abyei was in Kordofan during the [British] occupation.  Currently, Abyei is administrated by a special protocol.  There was supposed to be a referendum in Abyei.  We are working on making this happen.   We don’t see that there will be fight over Abyei because there are agreements regarding Abyei and we have to execute these agreements.  We have to find a solution to the pending issues regarding Abyei by peaceful means without any violence.” 

On the strategy for development

“We want to develop the agricultural sector since we are an agricultural state.  In addition, we have oil.  We want to attract foreign investment to South Sudan in all areas including agriculture, tourism and hospitality and infrastructural projects because we cannot develop this newly born state with our existing resources.  We have to attract international investment to South Sudan, particularly investment from Arab countries.”

Recent surveys by international research companies such as ACNielsen show that Alhurra has consistently averaged approximately 26 million weekly viewers for the last three years.  Alhurra is operated by the non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN).  MBN is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency.  The BBG serves oversight and as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters.


Chams Eddin

Communications Specialist

Middle East Broadcasting Networks