By Sudan Tribune,
The South Sudanese government on Sunday signed a bi-lateral military cooperation with Egypt, less than a week after it reached a consensus on a similar matter with neighboring Sudan, from which it succeeded in July 2011.
The new deal, according the state-owned SSTV, was signed following after a South Sudanese delegation led by defense minister, Kuol Manyang Juuk visted the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
Juuk was accompanied by his national security counterpart, Gen. Mabuto Mamur Mate, the deputy director for military intelligence and South Sudan’s ambassador to Egypt.
The defense minister is said to have held a meeting with the Egyptian President, Adil Mansour during which he delivered to the latter a “special message” from his South Sudanese counterpart, Salva Kiir.
He also extended his appreciation to Egypt for the cooperation and investments, which have contributed towards strengthening the existing ties between the two countries. During the meeting, Juuk reportedly assured the Egyptians of his country commitment to remain its significant partner in development for the mutual benefits and interests of citizens from both countries.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian president reportedly expressed optimism that South Sudan would, in the forthcoming periods, define strategic projects with visible effects for implementation.
Mansour is also said to have assured the visiting South Sudanese delegation his country’s willingness to find new funding mechanisms for bilateral activities in the field of defence.
But while specific details of the military cooperation between the two nations remained unclear, military sources have told Sudan Tribune that the deal provides for cooperation on their armed forces on sharing expertise, training of the special forces, joint exercises, participation in seminars and search and rescues issues.
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One need to have a good look at the following observations in order to understand the beef behind the deal.
1./ Any deal that involves Egypt in this part of Africa must have a relation to its confrontation with Ethiopia over the Nile. Such deal is part of the political measures Egypt wants to apply on Ethiopia that ranges from strengthening economic and military ties with all countries bordering Ethiopia to a worst case scenario of bombing the dam.
2./ South Sudan was under intense pressure from Ethiopia on a constant basis to sign for the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) that was designed to strip off Egypt’s colonial right over the Nile though it is known that it relies almost totally on the waters of the Nile.
3./ South Sudan almost have no leverage upon Ethiopia to counter its systematic political and economic pressure. As it was evidently observed in recent times, Ethiopia, along with the U.S., have tried to frustrate the South Sudanese government through dragging the peace talks, demanding neighboring troops to withdraw support for the government and even to covertly support the rebels with weapons through its peace keeping mission in the country.
4./ Despite Ethiopia’s insistence to demand the withdrawal of the Ugandan troops from South Sudan for the obvious reason, the rest of the IGAD member states unanimously authorized for the prompt deployment of regional forces in order to restore and maintain the peace and stability in South Sudan. Soon after, South Sudan foreign minister arrive in Cairo to request troop contribution from Egypt. Egypt, who is eager to set foot next to the Ethiopian borders, answered the call with pleasure and in fact went even to a greater extent of signing a military cooperation agreement with South Sudan.
5./ For regional spoiler Ethiopia, the military cooperation agreement between Egypt and South Sudan will be considered as an “Insane Deal” and will look at it suspiciously. However, its success depends on how much Ethiopia reacts to that. Provoking and undermining the South Sudanese government works no more.
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