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Juba’s pushback

Juba’s pushback

South Sudan’s Ambassador to Ethiopia has downplayed information which stated that South Sudan had agreed to the request made by Egypt to establish a military base in Pagak.

In a press conference held on Thursday, June 4, 2020 the Ambassador of South Sudan to Ethiopia, James Pitia Morgan, clarified to local journalists that his country would not do anything that could harm Ethiopia.

The ambassador said “The information is completely a lie, and the information is disseminated and shared by groups who have an interest to undermine the existing cooperation between the two countries.”

The ambassador also emphasized on Ethiopia’s stand in solidarity with South Sudan even during difficult times, and stated that the people of South Sudan will never forget Ethiopia’s stand contribution.

“If any force intends to attack Ethiopia via South Sudan, it will first face the people of South Sudan,” the ambassador said, indicating that South Sudan fully respects Ethiopia’s rights to utilize its natural resources within its territory.

Similarly, the South Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation issued a statement on Wednesday and rejected the information stating, “It is categorically unfounded and baseless.”

“There is nothing of that kind. No any agreement has been reached whatsoever to allocate a piece of land for Egypt in the territory of South Sudan,” the statement from the ministry read.

After Juba TV reported that the government of South Sudan agreed to Egypt’s request to build a military base in the Pagak region, where a military official was quoted as stating the base would accommodate some 250 Egyptian soldiers, to be ready for all possibilities related to the construction of the GERD by Ethiopia.

However, refuted by both the South Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and its ambassador to Ethiopia, the report by Juba TV stated that “The government of the Republic of South Sudan and the South Sudan Defense Forces agreed to allocate a land lot to our Egyptian brothers, who asked for a plot of land in eastern part of the country to deploy their forces.” 

Ethiopia has been assisting in maintaining peace and security in the Abyei area through the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA). UNISFA is a United Nations peacekeeping force in the resource-rich Abyei area, which is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. The UN Security Council authorized the deployment of the peacekeeping force to the disputed region in June 2011.