Turtle Bay

Salva sleeps it off

Salva Kiir, president of newly independent South Sudan, has survived 35 years of fighting — initially as a young guerrilla fighter and later as commander of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — against Khartoum’s forces. But a week of U.N. speeches, dinners, toasts, and endless bilateral meetings with governments was apparently a bit too ...

By , a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy.

Salva Kiir, president of newly independent South Sudan, has survived 35 years of fighting — initially as a young guerrilla fighter and later as commander of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — against Khartoum’s forces.

But a week of U.N. speeches, dinners, toasts, and endless bilateral meetings with governments was apparently a bit too much to handle for the leader of the U.N.’s newest member state.

Kiir, who addressed the General Assembly’s annual debate for the first time last week, fell ill on Friday night and didn’t show up for a high-level dinner, which included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. An effort to encourage his staff to convince Kiir to make a brief appearance at the dinner, which was held at the Intercontinental Hotel, was met with assurances he was incapable of doing so.

A source close to Kiir’s delegation said afterward that the new South Sudanese leader had been laid low by exhaustion but that he is fine.

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch

Salva Kiir, president of newly independent South Sudan, has survived 35 years of fighting — initially as a young guerrilla fighter and later as commander of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement — against Khartoum’s forces.

But a week of U.N. speeches, dinners, toasts, and endless bilateral meetings with governments was apparently a bit too much to handle for the leader of the U.N.’s newest member state.

Kiir, who addressed the General Assembly’s annual debate for the first time last week, fell ill on Friday night and didn’t show up for a high-level dinner, which included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. An effort to encourage his staff to convince Kiir to make a brief appearance at the dinner, which was held at the Intercontinental Hotel, was met with assurances he was incapable of doing so.

A source close to Kiir’s delegation said afterward that the new South Sudanese leader had been laid low by exhaustion but that he is fine.

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch

Colum Lynch is a senior staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @columlynch

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