Israel is expected to recognize South Sudan as an independent state in the coming weeks, according to sources at the Foreign Ministry. South Sudan will declare its independence tomorrow at a ceremony attended by representatives from all over the world.
Israel is not sending a representative to the ceremony, but plans to announce that it recognizes the new state immediately after the United States and European Union countries do so.
In October 2010, the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, declared that Israel is not an enemy and that he will weigh diplomatic relations with it, including the opening of an Israeli embassy in the capital, Juba.
More than 8,000 refugees from Sudan live in Israel. While no decision has been made it is likely that following the establishment of diplomatic relations, Israel will seek to repatriate most of the refugees to South Sudan.
Israel also has security concerns since Sudan has been a transit area for smuggling of arms from Iran to the Gaza Strip. [LIARS LIARS LIARS]