Ethiopia denies relations with South Sudan ‘worsening’

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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) and South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit (L) pose together before an official meeting in Cairo on November 22, 2014. (Photo by Pool/Egyptian Presidency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have been at a low ebb in recent years in a dispute over a giant dam Addis Ababa is building across the Nile.

By Muluneh Gebre, muluneh@alleastafrica.com

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s government has rubbished reports by some social media outlets that diplomatic relations between South Sudan and Ethiopia were worsening following a recent visit by South Sudanese president Salvi Kiir to Egypt.

Relations between Ethiopia and Egypt have been at a low ebb in recent years in a dispute over a giant dam Addis Ababa is building across the Nile.

The $5bn mega-dam far to the south, on the Blue Nile being built by Ethiopia has left Egypt worried about the impact on its water supply, sparking a new diplomatic row between the two countries.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Tewolde Mulugeta, a spokesperson for the Ethiopian foreign ministry said that the diplomatic relation between the two countries hasn’t ‘faced ‘any difficulty’.

Mr. Tewolde dismissed reports claiming that “Ethiopia has decided to cut its diplomatic relation with South Sudan as ‘false and baseless’.

Meanwhile, reports emerged this week that the South Sudanese leader Kiir had signed an agreement with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during his visit in Cairo, a move that may anger Ethiopia.

“Those reports are wrong. The two countries are cooperating on their common agendas and will strengthen their relationship,” he noted.

In the meantime, the South Sudanese ambassador to Ethiopia, James Pita Morga, also affirmed that his country’s relations with Ethiopia were ‘good’, adding that the two neighboring countries are ‘working together’.

He rejected reports circulating on the social media that South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir had signed “improper” agreement with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

“President Kiir’s visit was a usual, bilateral and friendly visit.” He said.

In addition, Mr. Morga articulated Ethiopia as his second home, a sentiment he said shared among South Sudanese people, denoting Ethiopia’s role Ethiopia in the South Sudanese peace process during the conflict in 2013 as an example helping strengthen relations between the two countries.

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