Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy met Saturday with his South Sudanese counterpart Barnaba Benjamin as the pair seek to expand economic ties and trade relations between the two African nations. The two sides also discussed attracting foreign investment at a crucial point during the two nations’ regional re-emergence.
One of the most crucial topics of discussion was water security in relation to the Nile, which feeds both nations with much needed water for drinking and irrigation. According to a statement released by the Egyptian foreign ministry, Benjamin stressed “the importance of cooperation based on the principle of achieving gains for [all countries] within the Nile Basin” as the river is able to provide enough water for all sides.
Fahmy agreed, noting the importance of “achieving gains for all without harming the interests of any party” while stressing “respect for international law and historical rights of the states”.
Benjamin used the meeting as an opportunity to thank his Egyptian counterpart for the support and humanitarian aid supplied to the young nation, noting that a large number of South Sudanese government officials have received their educations in Egypt, which, according to Benjamin, reflects the importance of Egyptian aid to the country.
Benjamin also noted Egypt’s role in South Sudan’s internal development. He thanked Fahmy for Egyptian support throughout the nation building process.
South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, gained independence in 2011 after a six year period of autonomy from Sudan. A referendum on independence passed with a 98.8% approval rate.