An Egyptian army delegation arrived Juba to hold talks with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) for training the SPLA in fields of production.
The delegation is composed of four major generals and one civil engineer from Egypt’s National Service Projects Organization, the civilian agency of the army forces in Egypt, a body responsible for the construction of bridges, roads, industrial projects, fisheries and others development projects.
The delegation will be in the country till Friday and are expected to reach agreements on ways of training the SPLA with skills.
Major Dau Alier, the Director-General for the military-economic corporation in the ministry of defence said,”This is a golden chance for our people and our army particularly the military-economic corporation, it seems to be late but not too late, now we are taking another step in the production.”
Major Alier said he hopes the cooperation will produce results being the first military economic corporation between the government of Egypt and South Sudan.
Alier reiterated,”We want to be a productive army; the SPLA must be a productive army.”
He said they are targeting areas of production in agriculture, animal resources, mining, small-scale industries, but not in weapons.The Egyptian delegation was led by Lieutenant General Mustafa Amin Ali, the head of the Egyptian National Service Projects Organization.
“We will take them through a program that we have planned for them, and then from there we will have a final day for what we have agreed,” said Alier.
In fact, Egypt has become more involved in South Sudan recently.
Egypt has been supporting South Sudan in many sectors, including agriculture, water, health and even politically.
On November 16, after four consecutive meetings with all concerned parties, the Cairo ” Declaration of Unification” of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) was signed at the headquarters of the Egyptian General Intelligence under the auspices of Egypt’s al-Sisi and President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni.
The parties agreed that the General Intelligence would follow up on the implementation of the items included in the agreement, without disclosing more details.
Moreover, in his article published in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk on November 21, South Sudanese author Deng Aling said that Egypt’s interest in unifying the movement, especially at this time, mainly aims at limiting the role of Sudan, Ethiopia and Israel in South Sudan.
Along added, “That is why Egypt decided to interfere and to find a solution to the issue through the reunification of the SPLM, which will eventually enable Egypt to be fully present in the south if the unity is to be achieved and the conflict to be resolved.”
He added,”This move would also allow Egypt to decrease, even if only slightly, the roles of Sudan, Ethiopia and Israel in the south, thus securing the White Nile from any attempts to use its water.”Since the civil war erupted in 2013, relations between South Sudan and Ethiopia went sour, as Juba accused Addis Ababa of sheltering, training and equipping rebel forces, which Ethiopia denies.
In the same context, the relationship between South Sudan and Sudan is not at its best in light of pending issues that remain unsolved, such as the disputed lands in the Abyei area.
It is worth to mention that signing the Declaration of Unification comes at the same time as the stalled negotiations on the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
In fact, the relations between Egypt and South Sudan started to flourish since the beginning of this year.
In January, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO) accused South Sudan and Egypt of striking a “dirty deal,” saying that an agreement would allow Kiir to receive lethal weapons and ammunition from Egypt to wage a full-scale war against the armed opposition.
“There is a dirty deal going between Kiir and Al-Sisi. The issue of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of the main deals being finalized in Cairo. Our intelligence sources in Kampala and Juba confirmed that Egypt wants South Sudan and Uganda to be her regional allies so that she can advance its covert sabotage campaign against the Ethiopian Dam. The man [Kiir] is a double agent; he will cause many problems for the entire East Africa region,” a senior rebel official told the South Sudan News Agency.
At that time, the official added that Egyptian military experts and engineers have been in Juba for months and that the entire secret military deal between Juba and Cairo was orchestrated by Kampala last year.