Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed landed in Juba on Monday for talks with President Salva Kiir on bilateral issues amid tensions within South Sudan over the 2018 peace agreement.
Dr Abiy also held discussions with First Vice President Riek Machar on the challenges hindering the implementation of the peace deal.
“The two leaders (Kiir and Abiy) headed the government secretariat where they held a meeting on bilateral matters with regional dimension including the implementation of the revitalised peace agreement,” acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Deng Dau Male, told reporters after the meeting.
“South Sudan values its historical ties with Ethiopia and appreciates Ethiopian key interest in restoring peace and stability,” said Mr Male.
Ethiopian State Minister of Foreign Affairs, who was part of the delegation, Misganu Arega, reiterated his government’s commitment to supporting Juba to achieve durable peace.
“Ethiopia pleads particular importance to the peace and stability of South Sudan and stands committed to peaceful resolution of issues,” said ambassador Misganu.
Dr Abiy was in Juba for a one-day official visit.
Dr Abiy’s visit to Juba came amid the latest row between the principals --President Kiir and his deputy Machar -- over the swapping of two key ministerial posts that are part of the 2018 peace deal, which allocated the portfolio to parties of the agreement.
Mr Kiir and Dr Machar met on Friday in a bid to resolve the dispute but are yet to conclude the matter.
Peace guarantors, including the African Union, United Nations and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), urged the parties to resolve the latest dispute and expedite the full implementation of the peace deal.
In a joint statement, they encouraged “a renewed focus by all signatories to the Revitalised Peace Agreement as outlined in the Roadmap, for its full and timely implementation” while urging the parties “to maintain collegial collaboration, continuous consultations, and consensus-building in the letter and spirit of the Revitalised Agreement.”