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Netizens scoff at a diplomatic goof

Author: Ayuen Panchol | Published: Friday, October 25, 2019

Presidents Kiir and el-Sisi hold a meeting in Sochi, Russia on Thursday, Oct 24 2019 | Credit Ajou Mareng

South Sudanese netizens have expressed anger over “incompetency” and poor representation of the country at the just concluded Russia-Africa Summit.

The forum, which was chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, gathered Russian and African officials along with business leaders who discussed and signed trade, economic, and investment agreements.

The economic forum was held in Sochi from 23-24 October.

It was attended by more than 50 African leaders and 3,000 delegates invited, including South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit.

Kiir was accompanied by senior government officials, notably the ministers of foreign affairs and international cooperation, office of the president, mining and petroleum.

The forum also presented the leaders an opportunity to hold sideline meetings with the world leaders.

President Kiir held one such a face-to-face meeting with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

In the room were also delegates from the two governments, seated opposite each other as the leaders discussed a business.

In a photo circulating on the social media, the Egyptian delegates are seen busy taking notes of the meeting; while their South Sudanese counterparts just sit there, with their hands folded and comfortably resting on their laps.

This angered South Sudanese online, questioning why the leaders could not jot down minutes of the meeting, which is a common practice all over the world.

Some Facebook users wondered whether the leaders traveled to Russia for leisure or work.

“I have seen people making a big issue of our ministers not taking the notes. I just want to let u know that, this picture was taken before the start of the meeting,” reacted Ajou Mareng, photographer in the Office of the President, who took the photo.

“Usually our ministers start taking the notes when the cameramen leave the rooms. That is the time when the real talk begins. From the photo you see, the meeting had not started yet. It was just a greeting session.”

Others countered this explanation, asking what the Egyptian team was jotting down if the meeting had not begun and the two leaders were not discussing issues worth taking notes for.

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