President Kiir dismisses claims of Juba-Egypt conspiracy
Thursday February 02 2017
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has dismissed recent media reports alleging that Juba's diplomatic ties with neighbouring Ethiopia have stalled following his visit to Egypt in early January this year.
In a statement broadcasted by the state-owned television on Wednesday evening, President Kiir said that there was no tiff between the two countries and that his Cairo visit was aimed at deepening bilateral relations with the North African state.
“The rumours continue to circulate that I visited Egypt to conspire against Ethiopia. That the Egyptian president visited Uganda to conspire against Ethiopia and that the Ugandan president visited Juba to do the same. These rumours are false,” he said.
President Kiir said he held talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on the sidelines of the just concluded African Union Summit in Addis Ababa on January 30 and 31.
He added that during the meeting with Mr Desalegn, the two leaders discussed the South Sudan peace process as well as economic interests.
In mid-December last year, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi visited Uganda where together with President Yoweri Museveni agreed on the plan to make the Nile River a transportation highway to the Mediterranean Sea through the two Sudans. In the same week, President Museveni visited Juba where he called on the warring parties to give peace and democracy a chance.
READ: Give peace, elections a chance, Museveni tells South Sudan
ALSO READ: Uganda, Egypt strike deal on River Nile
Nearly a month later, on January 9, President Kiir went on a three-day visit to Egypt. It is these visits that sparked the conspiracy allegations that the three countries were planning to deter Ethiopia from completing its $4 billion, 6,000 Megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.
Egypt fears that the dam risks its survival as the Nile is its only water source. The country has been in disputes with countries that share the Nile River over the usage of the waters.
In the meantime, President Kiir is hosting Moroccan King Mohamed VI, who is on a three-day visit in war-torn country.