World Bulletin / News Desk
South Sudanese Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin has denied reports that his country had asked to join the Cairo-based Arab League.
"[Juba] aspires to build strong ties with Middle East countries, but we have no intention to join the Arab League," Benjamin told reporters on Friday.
Following a visit to Cairo by Benjamin earlier this month, rumors had circulated of a South Sudanese request for league membership.
Benjamin, however, said his visit to Cairo had come in response to an Arab League invitation to deliver a briefing on the ongoing conflict in South Sudan, which erupted last December.
During his visit to Egypt, Benjamin represented Juba at an Arab foreign ministers meeting, at which he called on Arab states to support and invest in his country.
The conflict between government and rebel forces in South Sudan has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.
The UN estimates that some 3.7 million people in the country are now "severely food insecure," while more than 820,000 have been displaced by the violence.
In 2011, following a peace treaty six years earlier that ended decades of civil war, South Sudan declared independence from Sudan, a longstanding Arab League member state.Last Mod: 28 Mart 2014, 17:40