Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi expressed his country’s keenness on boosting peace and stability in war-torn South Sudan, the Egyptian presidential spokesman said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sisi’s remarks came during his meeting Tuesday with Mayiik Ayii Deng, the personal envoy of South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, who handed Sisi a message from Kiir on Juba’s interest in enhancing bilateral ties with Cairo in all fields.
“Sisi asserted during the meeting the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries and Egypt’s keenness on boosting peace and stability in South Sudan,” said Egyptian presidential spokesman Bassam Rady in the statement.
Sisi and Deng reviewed the latest political developments in South Sudan and the ongoing efforts to restore security and stability in the country.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011. Since then, the two neighbors have had frosty relations over undemarcated borders, disputed oil-rich Abyei region and alleged support for each other’s rebels.
South Sudan has been suffering civil war since late 2013, months after President Kiir fired his then-deputy Riek Machar, which led to fighting between Dinka ethnic soldiers loyal to Kiir and Machar’s Nuer ethnic group. The conflict has displaced about a third of the 7.5-million population.
Machar fled to Democratic Republic of Congo in 2016 after fierce fighting broke out in Juba.
Last May, Sudanese President Omar Bashir accused South Sudan and Egypt of supporting rebels in the troubled region of Darfour, charges that were strongly denied by both countries.
Later in mid-November, Cairo hosted the signing of “Unification Declaration” between rival factions in Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the ruling party in South Sudan. The declaration is an important step in peacemaking efforts in South Sudan.