Ethiopia, South Sudan sign multiple cooperation agreements including construction of two highways linking both nations
Agreements have been signed as part of an ongoing visit of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Myardit
Ethiopia and South Sudan signed nine cooperation agreements on Friday as part of an ongoing visit of South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, who arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday.
According to the agreements, priority will be given to the construction of two highways linking the neighboring Horn of Africa nations, including one linking Gambella-Paggak-Palouge and another linking Dima-Raad-Boma-Bor.
Memoranda of understanding were also signed on energy, border trade protocol, preferential trade, communication, information and media.
In a joint statement, the two countries said they desired “further strengthening of the already existing excellent relations between the two countries.”
The trans-border highway projects, the statement said, acknowledged that free movement of people and goods was a pre-requisite to boosting economic ties.
“The two leaders also agreed to form a Joint Border Administrators/Governors Committee at the earliest possible time to further enable them to strengthen cooperation on the issues of security, trade, development and infrastructure along their common border,” it said.
The communique also said the two sides recognized “…the need to work together for the implementation of the agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the Republic of South Sudan signed in Addis Ababa on Aug. 17, 2015, the two principals agreed for its expeditious implementation in letter and spirit.
The two leaders also agreed to work together for the inclusive process of the national dialogue that was declared on Dec. 14, 2016, by Kiir, the communique said.
There have been reports of widespread conflicts in South Sudan since July 2016 after the former first vice president and rebel leader Riek Machar left the transitional arrangement. He now lives in exile in South Africa.
Tens of thousands of South Sudanese died and two million others were displaced in a civil war that ensued a fall out between Kiir and Machar that started in mid-December 2013.
No diplomatic fallout
Asked about his Cairo visit two months ago and if that strained diplomatic relations with Ethiopia, Kiir said: “It is a normal official visit made on the invitation of [Egyptian] President [Abdel Fattah] el-Sissi just like my Ethiopia visit.”
He said some people tried to make it as though it was to conspire against Ethiopia with Egypt regarding the Nile and other regional issues.
He dismissed all such talk as rumors.
The Ethiopian premier said a country has the right to cooperate bilaterally with any other nation.
Source: Anadolu Agency