Ethio-South Sudan Relation
The relations between Ethiopia and the people of South Sudan was established a long time ago, when South Sudan was part of Sudan, as they share a common border, culture, and people. The widely known ''Addis Ababa Agreement,'' an agreement which was signed in 1972 had terminated Sudan’s first civil war and granted autonomy for southern Sudan. Emperor Haile Selassie was behind the agreement and played a key role in mediating the then Anya-Nya Movement and Khartoum government. Under the umbrella of IGAD, Ethiopia has also contributed positively to end the conflict of Sudan. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement /CPA/was mediated by the regional body, IGAD, and it paved the way for the independence of South Sudan.
Diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and South Sudan officially started when South Sudan got its independence in 2011. Following the CPA agreement, Ethiopia has opened a consular office in 2007 in Juba. And after it became an independent state on July 9, 2011, the consular office has been upgraded to the Embassy status in 2011. Similarly, South Sudan has promoted its liaison office in Addis Ababa to the Embassy in 2011.
Of course, South Sudan is the immediate neighbor of Ethiopia in the West sharing 883 km-long border. The tie between the two countries is exhibited in many aspects. There are people who demonstrate the same culture, religion, language, etc. Natural resources, especially the Nile River is also another feature that shows the two countries are bounded for years and years to come.
Aiming at strengthening the existing relationship between the two countries, the first Joint Ministerial Commission meeting was held in 2012. During the meeting, a number of MoU's have been signed-in the areas of security, political, and socio-economical spheres. Besides this, the leaders of both countries have exchanged official visits. In 2016 former Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn and on March 04, 2018, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has paid a visit to Juba. In reciprocity H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan has officially visited Ethiopia in February 2017.
Ethiopia has been assisting the South Sudanese public service institution by sending experts. In the education sector, Ethiopia has offered scholarship programs both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This is a clear indication that Ethiopia has been supporting the country as a true friend. A number of South Sudanese who fled conflict in their country have been welcomed and staying in the Gambella region. And they consider Ethiopia as their second home country.
In line with IGAD’s vision of regional integration, once peace and security is restored in the country, the two countries will benefit a lot from trade and tourism. To meet this objective, the recurrent conflict in the region has hampered those positive outcomes.
It is expected that south Sudan will join a cooperative framework agreement/ CFA / which has been signed by a majority of upper stream Countries. Nile River, which is a common resource for all riparian countries, needs cooperation among the down and upper stream countries to utilize it optimally based on fair and equitable principles.Apart from regional issues, South Sudan collaborates with Ethiopia in a number of agendas at an international fora.