Ethiopia and South Sudan should Revive Opportunities for New Heights

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BY SOLOMON DIBABA

In an exclusive interview with ENA, James Pitia Morgan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative of South Sudan to AU, IGAD and UNECA said that the ever growing diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and South Sudan are not new and are bound by historical, natural, common destiny and permanent cordial relations.

Speaking of the common political, economic, peace and security relations between the two countries, the ambassador said “Ethiopia and South Sudan have a common responsibility to ascertain the political, security, stability and peace in the Horn of Africa and also maintain economic development of the two countries, promoting economic integration in the Horn of Africa.”

Speaking of the common political, economic, peace and security relations between the two countries, the ambassador said “Ethiopia and South Sudan have a common responsibility to ascertain the political, security, stability and peace in the Horn of Africa and also maintain economic development of the two countries, promoting economic integration in the Horn of Africa.”

On April 3,2022, President Salva Kiir and, Vice President Riek Machar, inked an additional operational agreement on the creation of a unified armed forces command, which was one of several crucial unresolved issues, holding up the implementation of the 2018 deal to end the country’s bloody five-year civil war.

Speaking on the importance of the agreement, Ambassador James said “the agreement between Presidents Salva Kiir Myardit and Vice President Riek Machar is a process in the implementation of the agreement reached in 2018 on integrating the armed forces of the country which were commanded separately by the government and the opposition forces, putting them under a single central command in a bid to ensure the sovereignty, peace and territorial integrity of the country.”

The agreement mediated by the Republic of Sudan on the establishment of a single national army for South Sudan through integrating the army of the opposition forces with the government army— is of critical importance for the unity and peace of the country. In effect, this would also help the South Sudan to focus on the economic development and bolster its relations with Ethiopia, ensuring peace and tranquility in the border areas between South Sudan and Ethiopia. It is to be noted that armed persons from the Murule Tribe in South Sudan were conducting abduction of children and looting of cattle while illegal arms trafficking is repeatedly jeopardizing stability and peace in the border area. The agreement to integrate the army, the police and security forces will be accomplished in a ratio of 60 per cent on the government side and 40 per cent for the opposition.

Expressing the position of South Sudan on the issues related to the Red Sea, the ambassador noted: “the Red Sea must be a sea route—i.e. is completely free from any conflict and South Sudan views that the Red Sea be free from any level of conflict— an important factor for the maintenance of peace and stability on the Horn of Africa.”

Expressing the position of South Sudan on the issues related to the Red Sea, the ambassador noted: “the Red Sea must be a sea route—i.e. is completely free from any conflict and South Sudan views that the Red Sea be free from any level of conflict— an important factor for the maintenance of peace and stability on the Horn of Africa.”

Ethiopia and South Sudan had earlier agreed to implement a number of joint economic development programs that were disrupted due to security issues and a number of factors related to acquisition of financial resources.

In February 2017, President Salva Kiir and former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn signed in Juba agreements to strengthen cooperation on security, trade, and development along the borders. They agreed to construct roads linking Gambella to Paluoch through Pagak. The construction of another road that will connect Ethiopia’s Dima to Jonglei’s capital, Bor, via Raad and Boma in Greater Pibor in South Sudan is also part of the plan.

In January 2020, the construction of the commercial road between South Sudan and Ethiopia through Pagak town was said to have begun. The roads will provide access for South Sudan to the Port of Djibouti and allow it to export oil or fuel by tanker to Ethiopia.

The two countries have made further plans to share expertise in health, energy, and communication, information, where in 2020, South Sudan and Ethiopia agreed to review plans to construct roads, electricity and other infrastructure linking the two countries.

Prioritizing the transmission of energy from Ethiopia to South Sudan and renew joint efforts to build roads and bridges that will connect Ethiopia and South Sudan at various checkpoints were also raised by Ambassador James Morgan.

It is approximately 1,500 kms from Gambella by road to South Sudan border towns of Akobo, Burbe, crossing, Pochalla, and Boma. The river corridors are used during this period to bring food and non-food items (NFIs) into South Sudan from Metar/Itang/ Gambella ports through Sobat River via Nasser to Malakal.

Among other things, Ambassador James mentioned the importance of joint utilization of the Lamu Port and the corridor in joint cooperation with Ethiopia and underscored the importance of the port for meaningful economic cooperation and integration in the region.

The ambassador also said that Ethiopia is “the big brother” to South Sudan and to the rest of Africa in terms of its leading role in the economic integration of the region. He noted that Ethiopia shoulders a bigger responsibility in promoting peace and economic integration across the Horn of Africa.

Given the territorial proximity with Ethiopia, there is a huge potential on which the two countries can cooperate, including joint security to monitor border areas, trade development, technical cooperation in the development of infrastructures, aviation, capacity building in the areas of military cooperation, education system development, various training programs for all the economic sectors in South Sudan.

Given the territorial proximity with Ethiopia, there is a huge potential on which the two countries can cooperate, including joint security to monitor border areas, trade development, technical cooperation in the development of infrastructures, aviation, capacity building in the areas of military cooperation, education system development, various training programs for all the economic sectors in South Sudan.

Ethiopia and South Sudan are also expected to cooperate in the areas of curbing illicit trade in arms, contraband and organized terrorist activities that could possibly harm the peaceful development efforts of the two countries.

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