South Sudan Ready To Engage In Defense Industry Cooperation With Russia - Foreign Minister

South Sudan Ready to Engage in Defense Industry Cooperation With Russia - Foreign Minister

South Sudan is ready to extend its bilateral cooperation with Russia to defense industry partnership if Moscow shows interest in the matter, the African country's Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial told Sputnik on Monday

ADDIS ABABA (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 11th February, 2019) South Sudan is ready to extend its bilateral cooperation with Russia to defense industry partnership if Moscow shows interest in the matter, the African country's Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial told Sputnik on Monday.

"We are cooperating now only in the area of mineral extraction, but we are not against [cooperation] being [extended to] this area also if both sides express their interest," the minister said, when asked about defense industry cooperation between the two countries.

The main sector of the South Sudanese economy is connected to oil production, with the revenues from hydrocarbons making up a significant part of the state budget. However, the exploration activities were previously hampered by the hostilities, including around the areas, which are rich not only in oil but also iron ore, copper, silver, gold, and other minerals.

Several companies with Russian participation have been working in South Sudan. In particular, Russia's Safinat group of companies launched the construction of an oil refinery in the country, which was then frozen due to unstable situation in the region.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan following a referendum in 2011, in which majority of the voters supported the move. In 2013, a civil war erupted in the country, as South Sudan's President Salva Kiir of the Dinka tribe accused rebel leader Riek Machar, an ethnic Nuer, of planning a coup. A fragile peace was reached in September after previously unsuccessful attempts to end fighting.

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