ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – South Sudan’s ambassador to Ethiopia is dismissing reports that relations are strained between the two countries after President Salva Kiir visited Egypt and met with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo earlier this month.
South Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, James Pitia Morgan, made the remarks after some Ethiopian and South Sudanese media outlets reported that South Sudan and Egypt signed what they called a “dirty deal” to arm Ethiopian opposition groups based in South Sudan who aim to sabotage the big dam that Ethiopia is building on the Nile River.
Egypt has long felt that the massive dam Ethiopia is currently building will decrease its share of Nile waters, despite Ethiopia’s assurances that it won’t. This raised tensions between the two countries and the Ethiopian Prime Minister recently charged that “some elements within the Egyptian government” are supporting the unrest in his country.
Despite the tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt, South Sudan wants to have good relations with both, said Morgan.
Tewolde Mulugeta, spokesman for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreed with the ambassador’s remarks saying that South Sudan and Ethiopia enjoy good relations.
Ethiopia currently hosts close to 300,000 South Sudanese refugees, most of whom fled after conflict broke out in the world’s newest nation in December 2013, according to U.N estimates.