Egypt and South Sudan signed several cooperation agreements, following South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s three day visit to Cairo which concluded with a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart.
Kiir held closed talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Saturday, in which Al-Sisi asserted Egypt’s support of South Sudanese stability, reported state-run Al-Ahram. The newspaper added that Egypt would not intervene in the country’s internal affairs.
Kiir’s visit to Egypt comes shortly after conflicting parties in South Sudan reached an agreement to end nearly a year of fighting between government and opposition troops.
Hani Raslan, Sudan and Nile basin countries expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said South Sudan is an “important country for Egypt in terms of the situation and strategies in Nile basin countries in general”.
He added that it is in Egypt’s interests to have positive relations with South Sudan. This is especially so to prevent other parties whose agendas in South Sudan may be a burden to Egypt’s national security from gaining strength.
Kiir arrived in Egypt Thursday leading a high level delegation of ministers and held talks with Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb on the same day.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Kiir extended an invitation to Al-Sisi to visit South Sudan. Shoukry added that he himself intends to visit the country in the upcoming period, Al-Ahram reported.
Egypt’s Water and Irrigation Minister Hossam El-Din Moghazy and South Sudan’s Water and Electricity Minister Jemma Nunu Kumba signed an agreement on “technical and developmental cooperation in the field of water resources management”. The agreement was signed under the auspices of the two presidents.
The water ministries released a joint statement on the agreement, in which they said the agreement is based on a “permanent mechanism of cooperation between the ministries”.
Raslan said South Sudan is an important area for Egypt in terms of water resources, due to the large amount of water in Africa’s newest country, but much of it lost.
Raslan said there have been Egyptian projects in the past to make use of these losses, but the projects were interrupted by the Sudanese civil war. South Sudan seceded from Sudan in 2011 following years of conflict.
Raslan said the area, however, remains important for Egypt, adding that the Egyptian assistance usually comes in the form of conducting studies, training staff and funding research.
The two water ministers agreed during talks on the importance of reinforcing bi-lateral cooperation in a manner that serves the aspirations of the people through developmental projects. They additionally agreed to continue to make visits whether on the ministerial or technical levels to activate the agreement.
Officials from the two countries discussed cooperation in various other fields including health, agriculture, youth and culture and ministers and their counterparts have signed several agreements in many of those fields.
Al-Sisi told his counterpart that the Egyptian government supports the South Sudanese government in achieving the hopes and ambitions of its people and that Egypt will continue to support South Sudan.