October 11, 2021 (JUBA) – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir told his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisis that Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed requested him to deliver a message of peace and expressed his readiness to resume talks on disputes surrounding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.
- President Al-Sisi of Egypt meeting South Sudan’s Salva Kiir in Beijing (Press Photo)
“I was in Addis in September and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed promised me to resume negotiations with Egypt and Sudan on Renaissance Dam after the formation of a new government and asked me to deliver this message to brother al-Sisi”, Kiir said on Sunday.
The South Sudanese leader commended al-Sisi for showing commitment to ensuring regional stability and his interest to help address regional issues since Sudan, with which South Sudan and Egypt has been trying to work together, has been pinned down by its internal issues and border row with Ethiopia.
“I commend brother al-Sisi for continuing to play this crucial role that stability and peacefulness within the region. Sudan was also helpful in this coordination, unfortunately it is now pinned down by its own internal issues”, Kiir said at a news conference he addressed in both Arabic and English languages.
The Egyptian leader did not say anything about Ethiopia, preferring to talk about regional issues and how the two countries could work together to enhance development efforts and projects in the Horn and Eastern Africa and the means to contain possible ramifications on the other nations in the region.
Al-Sisi said consultations with South Sudan on GERD have been ongoing, emphasizing a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the dam as per international law and the outputs of the United Nations Security Council so horizons of cooperation between Nile Basin nations can be opened.
Kiir said the two leaders representing Egypt and South Sudan are constantly in consultations over Sudan and supporting Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council so that the country remains in peace and stability.
Political analysts and diplomats viewed the South Sudanese leader’s visit to Cairo as being crucial in the development and strengthening of the relations between the two countries and the role of South Sudan in regional matters.
It also highlights the extent to which Egypt is willing to pursue its interest in the Nile water by enlisting the support and cooperation of the young nation.
The leaders used the visit as an opportunity to sign several agreements on irrigation, trade, and industry and a joint committee will convene regularly to monitor the progress of all the agreements.
Trade exchange will be increased, the access of Egyptian investments and goods into South Sudan will be facilitated, and Egypt will provide capacity building programs in different fields, including scholarships so that more South Sudanese students are able to study at Egyptian universities as local students.
The Egyptian leader also pledged his support and willingness to remain to be a strong supporter for peace, stability, and development in South Sudan.
Al-Sisi visited South Sudan in November 2020, resulting in subsequent visits between ministers and officials from the two countries during which they have met several times to strengthen ties. During the visit, the Egyptian leader affirmed his country’s commitment to providing technical assistance to South Sudan.
Egypt has established six underground water wells in the South Sudan capital, Juba, besides a number of projects that has created various job opportunities.