By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 24, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia’s acting foreign minister, Berhane Gebrekirstos, held separate talks with Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti, and South Sudan’s foreign affairs and international cooperation minister, Nhial Deng Nhial.
- Sudanese foreign minister, Ali Ahmed Karti (Getty)
The discussions on Tuesday focused on ways of boosting bilateral ties and on Ethiopia’s role in peace talks between Juba and Khartoum, focusing on resolving the remaining pending issues relating to South Sudan’s independence last year.
Addis Ababa has been host to series of talks between the two nations, culminating in the signing of several agreements in September. A settlement was reached on contentious oil transit fees but border demarcation remains unresolved.
The peace and security role Ethiopia should play in the contested Abyei region as chair of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was also at the top of the agenda.
According to government officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gebrekirstos and Karti consulted on ways of enhancing existing bilateral cooperation, particularly in trade, knowledge-transfer and experience-sharing.
During the talks Nhial said multilateral ties between the two countries are improving rapidly.
He also explained that South Sudan intends to begin importing electricity from Ethiopia.
Ethiopia has plans to export hydropower-generated-electricity neighbouring. Currently Ethiopia is selling electricity to Djibouti and is set to export to Sudan.
According to the spokesperson of the ministry foreign affairs, Dina Mufti, Ethiopia and South Sudan are planning to build an oil refinery in Ethiopia.
It was said that the oil joint venture will have significant role in enhancing economic cooperation between the two neighbours.
Delegates of both sides commended the diplomatic role Ethiopia played in the reaching of agreements.
The African Union High Level Implementation Panel team is expected to propose a resolution on border issues and will present its solutions to a ministerial meeting at the AU Peace and Security Council.