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South Sudan: there's nothing 'worth rebuilding'

South Sudan's President Salva Kiir says his country is too poor to have something "worth rebuilding" after decades of war during his appeal to the world for help in Friday

AFP , Saturday 24 Sep 2011
The Republic of South Sudan President Salva Kiir speaks during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. (Photo:AP)

The president of newly independent South Sudan appealed to the world for help Friday, saying his country is so poor it has nothing "worth rebuilding" after suffering decades of war.

"The Republic of South Sudan stands in dire need of all the help it can get," President Salva Kiir Mayardit told the United Nations General Assembly in his first address to the UN since his country won independence from Sudan to the north in July.

"In most post-conflict situations, nations would normally expect to rebuild. This is not the case for us. Even before the ravages of war could set in, our country never had anything worth rebuilding."

Mayardit said that while the country was unable to "produce anything for ourselves," it hoped to use proceeds from "abundant resources" of oil and other mineral deposits to develop a more varied economy, including a rich agricultural sector.

But for South Sudan to get on its feet, it will need to normalize relations with its former enemy Sudan, he underlined.

Promising that his new country "will not interfere in any domestic conflict situation in the Republic of Sudan," he called on the Sudanese government to settle demarcation of the border and South Sudan's use of Sudanese oil pipeline infrastructure.

There can be "mutually acceptable arrangements that will guarantee for the Republic of Sudan a fair income," he said.

South Sudan is home to around three quarters of the old Sudan's crude reserves, and more than 95 percent of its income currently comes from oil receipts.

However, there is still no agreement on how much the south should pay for renting the north's pipeline.

The fledgling nation also borders Kenya and Ethiopia, both badly affected by a devastating famine sweeping the Horn of Africa, triggering greater scarcity in the region and stoking already high domestic food prices.

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