Salva Kiir Mayardit the President of Southern Sudan and leader of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) said that he does not rule out the establishment of "good relations" with Israel including the opening of an Israeli embassy in Juba, capital of the southern province, in the event the Southerners chose to secede in a referendum due early next year. According to him, the Jewish state "is the enemy of the Palestinians only, and not an enemy of the South."Kiir noted in a press statement that he will draw a "map of a new foreign policy" in case of independence, but stressed that this will be done through "a common thinking." In recent months Southern officials hinted at the recognition of Israel if the vote for secession in the referendum i approved. The Arabic al Hayat newspaper quoted Salva Kiir as saying that he would not respond to any request or proposal to postpone the referendum, "even if it comes from America."