South Sudan VP Taban Deng Gai welcomed by Ethiopian Minister of Defence on his arrival
South Sudan vice President, Taban Deng Gai, arrived in Addis Ababa for an official working visit on Wednesday.
Gai arrived in Addis Ababa this afternoon leading a high-level South Sudanese government delegation.
Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the South Sudanese delegation was warmly received by Ethiopian Defence Minister Abraham Belay and Director General of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fisseha Shawul, among other senior government officials.
The Ethiopia ministry of foreign affairs in a brief statement it issued this afternoon said the high-level delegation will be in Ethiopia for a three-day working visit.
“In the next few days, the delegation that includes various ministers will meet with counterpart ministers and high-level government officials to enhance a wide range of cooperation between the two countries,” the ministry said without giving further details.
However, a government source told Sudan Tribune that the latest visit intends to further strengthen the multilateral ties between the two neighbours.
The agenda for discussion among others will focus on joint infrastructural development, trade, people-to-people ties, and other areas of bilateral and regional concerns, the source told Sudan Tribune.
South Sudan and Ethiopia share an 883 km-long common border in the West, yet it is one of the most porous and volatile borderlines.
Although bilateral relations between the two countries are considered remarkable in various areas however the two neighbours still need more robust work together to address security challenges, mitigate cross-border conflict, encourage peacebuilding, and bring sustainable development to the border regions.
Last month, Ethiopia and South Sudan signed a security cooperation agreement to jointly fight terrorism, armed groups and related organized crime in the region.
The agreement was then signed by the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) Temesgen Tiruneh and the Director General of the Internal Security Bureau of South Sudan, Akor Kor Cook.
The agreement states that “the countries will work together to control and take action against terrorist groups, rebel forces, armed groups and organized criminals who have taken the mission to disrupt peace and security in the border areas and destabilize the East African region.”
In addition, the two countries agreed to work jointly to curb illegal arms trafficking, drug trafficking, economic fraud and information technology-related crimes.
Diplomatic relations between Addis Ababa and Juba officially began after the latter proclaimed its independence from Sudan in 2011, becoming the world’s youngest nation.
In the same year, South Sudan promoted its liaison office in Addis Ababa to an Embassy.
Relations between the two neighbours are exhibited in many aspects including people who demonstrate the same ethnic group, culture, religion, and language.
Natural resources, mainly the Nile River, are also another feature that would bond the countries for so many years to come.
In May, South Sudan agreed to purchase Ethiopia’s cheap and hydro-processed electricity in a bid to meet increasing energy demand at home.
According to Ethiopian Electric Power, the power utility, Ethiopia has agreed to export an initial 100 Megawatts of electricity to South Sudan over the next three years.
Per the agreement, Ethiopia will export 100 megawatts of electricity to South Sudan in the first phase of the three-year period and will rise its supply to 400 megawatts of power thereafter.
Ethiopia, which is building a multibillion-dollar mega-dam project on the Nile River, is aggressively working to supply electricity to its neighbours as part of regional integration with its neighbours.
However, downstream countries, particularly Sudan and Egypt fear that the dam project which would be Africa’s largest could eventually diminish their historic water share from the River.