Egypt vows to support South Sudan’s peace efforts

South Sudan’s Salva Kiir (Centre) meeting Egyptian foreign affairs minister Sameh Shoukry (Left) in Juba, March 12, 2018 (courtesy photo)

Sudan Tribune (JUBA) – The Egyptian government on Monday vowed to continue supporting efforts aimed at restoring peace and stability in war-torn South Sudan.

Addressing reporters in the South Sudan capital, Juba on Monday, Egypt’s foreign affairs minister, Sameh Shoukry said his government remains committed to ensuring stability in the conflict-ridden nation.

Shoukry met South Sudan President, Salva Kiir and the two reportedly discussed overall bilateral relations and means to develop them in all the fields, as well as a number of regional issues of common interest.

Handling over a letter from President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to his South Sudan counterpart, Shoukry said the former conveyed his regards and appreciation to the South Sudan leader for his efforts aimed at achieving stability and development in war-torn East African nation.

“The President of the Republic also expressed his keenness on supporting our South Sudanese brothers in all fields,” partly reads a statement issued by the Egyptian foreign affairs ministry on Monday.

Shoukry affirmed Egypt’s support for the role of South Sudan government in achieving peace and stability through the national dialogue steering committee, after its leaders recently participated in a training course in Cairo, in addition to dispatching an Egyptian expert to provide the committee with technical support in Juba.

Last year, Egypt also hosted the talks of the Arusha Agreement on the reunification of South Sudan’s ruling party (SPLM) and contributed to sponsoring these talks in cooperation with Uganda.

Meanwhile, President Kiir expressed his satisfaction and gratitude to Shoukry and his delegation, expressing his country’s full appreciation for Egypt’s efforts to support the people and stability of South Sudan.

The South Sudanese leader also briefed the Egyptian foreign affairs minister on the ongoing negotiation process with the opposition under the regional bloc (IGAD) and the challenges facing the talks.

Kiir also explained, during the meeting, the work of the national dialogue steering committee and the various stages of the national dialogue aimed at achieving peace and stability in the country.

The civil war in South Sudan, now in its fifth year, has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions, with aid agencies warning that an estimated 7 million people could face starvation.

The meeting discussed a number of regional issues of common interest, particularly the developments in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations, and the situation in the Horn of Africa region in general, in addition to the demand by South Sudan to join the League of the Arab States.

South Sudan’s minister for the presidency, Mayiik Ayii Deng said Egypt is not just a political ally, but fully supports the war-torn nation.

“It was Egypt that led the African bloc in the Security Council [of the United Nations] to defeat the draft resolution intended to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan,” Deng told reporters on Monday.

He said Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, were among the first African countries in to come out in support of South Sudan’s national dialogue and will continue to provide political, moral, financial, technical and material support to its steering committee.

Egypt, according to the minister for the presidency, is currently hosts over 50,000 South Sudanese who are afforded all freedoms like citizens of Egypt.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Egyptian foreign affairs minister and South Sudan’s minister of presidential affairs to establish a political consultation mechanism between the two nations.