JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel’s premier and president pledged their support for the fledgling state of South Sudan on Tuesday in talks with visiting President Salva Kiir, official statements said.

Kiir met Israeli President Shimon Peres during the morning, then held a working lunch with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a flying visit of less than 24-hours, his first to the Jewish state.

“I am very moved to come to Israel and to walk on the soil of the promised land,” Peres’s office quoted Kiir as saying.

“As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children,” Kiir said. “I have come to see your success.”

Peres said that as deputy defence minister he had met with south Sudanese leaders in the 1960s when Israel gave them “extensive assistance in agriculture and infrastructures.”

“Israel has supported, and will continue to support, your country in all areas in order to strengthen and develop it,” Peres said. Following talks with Netanyahu, his bureau announced that an Israeli delegation “would shortly go to South Sudan in order to examine how to aid the people, who underwent great suffering in recent years, to develop their new state.” Kiir was to meet Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during the afternoon before leaving in the early evening, officials said. Israel recognised South Sudan and established full diplomatic relations with Kiir’s govt.