Juba, Cairo revisit MoU once signed for development

Juba, Cairo revisit MoU once signed for development
President Salva Kiir Mayardit with his Egyptian counterpart President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in Cairo (photo credit: Presidential Press Unit)

The Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has promised to support South Sudan’s political stability, economy and security. 

This comes following Sunday’s bilateral meeting held between President Salva Kiir and President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo where the two leaders discussed the previous agreements signed almost three years ago.

According to a statement from the office of President Kiir, the visit was opening a new page of opportunities for the two countries to revisit their history of friendship to strengthen cooperation.

“President Salva Kiir’s visit is both symbolic and at the same time presents an opportunity for the two countries to explore new areas of cooperation.”

Issues at hand

The previous Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries includes training South Sudanese diplomats, provision of agricultural land for Egyptian investors, and the establishment of educational training centers within South Sudan. 

Kiir expressed his concerns over regional issues which he said needed swift intervention and urged President Al Sisi to exert efforts towards supporting viable peace in the region.

Meanwhile, President Al Sisi has pledged Egypt’s commitment to standing by South Sudan in promoting peace, stability, and development to realize the pillar of its internal peace and stability. 

He said that Egypt would dig into the root causes of the challenges derailing development in South Sudan.

“We also exchanged views on a multitude of current regional and international issues of mutual interest; primarily the ongoing developments in the East African region and the Horn of Africa, and ways to contain their possible repercussions for the rest of the region,’’ the statement noted

“We agree to continue joint coordination to achieve the security and stability of the region’s countries,” he added.

According to several news outlets, Al Sisi said they discussed River Nile issues and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) being constructed by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile.

“I underscored the importance of reaching a legally binding agreement that regulates the filling and operation of the dam, based on rules of the international law and UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.

“This shall promote stability in the entire region and open up broader prospects for cooperation among Nile Basin countries,” Sisi underscored.

Memorandum

The Vice President Dr. James Wani Igga and the Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli witnessed the signing of agreements in Cairo on Wednesday, July 27, 2021, to boost cooperation between the two countries. 

Among the agreements was the memorandum of understanding between the Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel Aati and his South Sudanese counterpart Manawa Peter Gatkuoth to reduce the risk of flooding in the Sudd swamp in South Sudan.

Madbouli and Igga had signed minutes of the first meeting of the Egyptian-South Sudanese higher committee, including details of the cooperation project and the timetable for the implementation.

The South Sudanese vice president and his accompanying delegation met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who asserted Egypt’s total support and determination to transfer Egypt’s expertise in various disciplines to South Sudanese especially in agriculture and industry.

GERD

There had been an existent conflict between Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Egypt saw as a means of blocking their water. 

Ethiopia had been strategic in hosting South Sudanese in the course of the liberation struggle together with Kenya and Uganda. 

Grand Renaissance Dam after completion is said to be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. Its construction was begun in 2011 on the Blue Nile in northern Ethiopia highlands where 85 percent of the Nile waters flow.

Revisiting history

Egypt is the first country in Africa and the world that had been awarding numerous scholarships to Southern Sudanese students since 1956. South Sudan pride itself in its foundation having been set by Egypt. Many well-trained South Sudanese who are now serving in various disciplines like law, medicine, and engineering are currently providing satisfactory services to their people.

On December 18, 2019, South Sudanese students from the University of Juba protested against the alleged abduction, torture, bullying, and killing of South Sudanese students in Egypt. An example was Gong Achuil Angok, a University student who went missing in Cairo on December 8, 2019, while he went shopping.

Reports revealed that students stormed the Egyptian Embassy in Juba calling for an end to what they referred to as the unfair treatment of South Sudanese by Egyptians.

Moreover, there were also reports that the South Sudanese who were targeted were abducted for organ harvesting. Relatives of the victims said that most of their friends and siblings were found dead without kidneys and livers.

There were also allegations of ridicule and mistreatment of South Sudanese in Egypt including bullying of a 13-year-old South Sudanese boy by two Egyptian men which went viral on social media.

In 2020, the Egyptian President accompanied by high-level government officials arrived in Juba where the two presidents discussed bilateral relations concerning economy and development.

This came after Kiir visited Egypt for three days and held talks on bilateral relations with the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in January 2017. In July 2017, El-Sisi held a telephone conversation with President Kiir expressing Egypt’s support for the ceasefire between him and Riek Machar. A ceasefire was signed immediately after the telephone conversation.

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