Israel recognizes South Sudan, offers economic aid

JERUSALEM Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:41am EDT

A man waves South Sudan's national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

A man waves South Sudan's national flag as he attends the Independence Day celebrations in the capital Juba, July 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel recognized South Sudan Sunday, offering the new state economic help after it seceded from the mainly Arab Muslim north, which has no relations with the Jewish state.

"I announce here that Israel recognizes South Sudan," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet in broadcast remarks.

"We wish it success. It is a peace-seeking country and we would be happy to cooperate with it in order to ensure its development and prosperity."

South Sudan, where most follow Christian and traditional African beliefs, declared independence Saturday in line with a January referendum that was the culmination of a 2005 peace deal ending decades of civil war with the north.

Israel is home to thousands of Sudanese refugees and migrant workers who arrived on foot after crossing the Egyptian Sinai.

(Writing by Dan Williams, editing by Tim Pearce)

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