February 23, 2017 (JUBA)- South Sudan President Salva Kiir has arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa for talks on the implementation of border control and security cooperation deal signed last year.
On 28 October 2016, President Kiir and Ethiopian Hailemariam Desalegn signed a series of cooperation agreements on Friday, including a security arrangement to stop hosting armed opposition groups in their respective countries.
During his three day visit, the South Sudanese president will hold talks with the Ethiopian prime minister on Friday. Also, the two leaders are expected to sign a number of bilateral cooperation agreements including security issues in line with a memorandum of understanding signed last year.
Last October, the two leaders signed an agreement on border control and security cooperation but it seems that the implementation conditions had not been included in the deal.
“It will be something good for us, South Sudanese and Ethiopians, should these two leaders put into action what they will agree on. It’s our hope that the two agree on security issues. We don’t want any negative force to use another country’s territory to launch hostile activities on the other. Borders are really important to a country and having a good relationship with the bordering country is always the goal for both countries to progress together,” said Presidential Spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny.
"South Sudan- Ethiopia borders are not safe and this is what has prompted the two to meet,” Ateny further stressed.
“We have so many sectors that need the involvement of Ethiopians in our country and the Ethiopians in return have many sectors needing our involvement. For a country to excel, Mutuality is the key,” he added.
The Nuer in Ethiopia’s western region of Gambella, have kept their tribal links with the South Sudanese Nuer across the history.
Since the eruption of hostilities between the government army loyal to President Kiir and troops loyal to his former First Vice President Riek Machar in December 2013, many rebels crossed into the Ethiopian territory of Gambella where the South Sudanese army cannot hunt them.
Juba government was suspicious for the tolerance that Addis Ababa had shown towards the South Sudanese rebel presence in Gambella.
It further went to object the participation of Ethiopian soldiers in the regional protection force. However in November Kiir declared accepting their participation and pointed to the security deal signed with Desalegn.