Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry is set to fly to South Sudan on Thursday to attend an opening session for a meeting by the South Sudan Liberation Movement's (SPLM) National Liberation Council, according to Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.
Shoukry will be attending the meeting on behalf of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi upon an invitation by the SPLM extended to “a limited number of African leaders who are guarantors of the Arusha accord for the movement's reunification.”
The 12-page Arusha Accord, which was signed in Tanzania in January 2015 between representatives from three conflicting factions of the SPLM party, outlines key steps towards a reunification of the party.
Abu Zeid said that the council’s invitation reflects the special relationship between Egypt and South Sudan, adding that the meeting, which will be held in Juba on 3-5 May, aims to support efforts to reunify the movement.
The National Liberation Council is the second highest level in the SPLM after its political bureau, and consists of 170 members as representatives of different states in South Sudan, according to Abu Zeid.
"The Egyptian participation comes in the framework of continued efforts to achieve peace and stability in South Sudan, as Egypt has voiced support for South Sudanese President Silva Kiir's initiative to establish a committee to facilitate the national dialogue," he added.
Egypt has hosted talks on the course of implementing Arusha, sponsoring the discussions in correlation with Uganda.
Last November, Egypt sponsored the signing of a declaration of unification between two factions of the SPLM at the headquarters of Egypt's intelligence agency in Cairo.
The declaration, which supports peace efforts to end the dispute between the rival factions and stipulates the return of refugees displaced by conflict, was signed under the auspices of President El-Sisi and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman highlighted efforts by Egypt since 2005 to execute an integrated strategy to support development efforts since the inking of the Naivasha comprehensive peace agreement.
Signed in 2005 by the SPLM and Sudan's government, Naivasha aimed to end the second Sudanese civil war through an immediate ceasefire between the SPLM and the government of Sudan.
Egypt has provided aid to South Sudan, building four power stations and a number of schools and medical clinics, and has also provided aid in irrigation.
This is the second visit to South Sudan by the Egyptian foreign minister in less than a month, as Shoukry recently visited Juba to sign a memo to establish a mechanism for political consultation.
Shoukry's visit comes a few days after President El-Sisi received a phone call from his South Sudanese counterpart Kiir, where El-Sisi accentuated Egypt's support to South Sudan.