Lieutenant General Nhial Deng Nhial
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Date of Birth: 1 January 1952
August 2011 - Minister of Foreign Affairs of the newly independent Republic of South Sudan
December 2008 - July 2011: South Sudanese Minister of SPLA and Veteral Affairs
Lieutenant General Nhial Deng Nhial, who became South Sudan’s
new Foreign Affairs Minister on 27 August, is preparing for a steady
stream of global emissaries. One of the world’s poorest countries, South
Sudan’s future depends much on the cooperation of allies and
neighbours. Nhial will shape ties with South Sudan’s allies, old and
new, as countries line up to sign investment deals and pledge
development dollars. The South Sudan government in Juba has announced
plans to open 21 embassies across the globe.
For decades, Nhial has been at the forefront of Juba’s strategic
decision-making. Previously, he was Defence Minister, overseeing
military operations on the sensitive border with Sudan and
against local rebels in South Sudan’s oil-producing zones. Nhial came to
Defence from his post as Regional Affairs Minister, an appointment that
he accepted in South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s
government in 2005. Prior to that, he led the Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement delegation to talks on the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
He is now a member of the SPLM Leadership Council and Political Bureau.
Nhial graduated with a degree in law from the University of Khartoum
in the 1980s. He joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army shortly
after his graduation and its founding in 1983. Born in 1952, Nhial is
the son of assassinated South Sudanese leader William Deng Nhial. Many members of the current South Sudanese cabinet are Dinka; Nhial, too, is a Dinka from Bahr el Ghazal.