Men prepare a giant South Sudan flag for Independence Day celebrations in Juba (Photo: Reuters)
Foreign Minister Mohamed El-Orabi announced Egypt’s recognition of the newest state, the Republic of South Sudan. El-Orabi spoke to Al-Ahram daily upon arrival last night at Juba Airport as part of a senior Egyptian delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yehia El-Gamal and includes Minister of Electricity and Energy Hassan Youssef.
“South Sudan is a strategic asset for Egypt, which we cannot neglect or abandon,” he said, emphasising that Egypt will play a leading role in supporting stability in South Sudan. “This does not mean that we are taking sides, but that our relationship will be balanced between the North and South,” he added.
El-Orabi said that Egypt will mediate to resolve any disputes between North and South, and that Cairo has prepared not only a foreign policy but also a development plan for South Sudan, such as in the sectors of electricity, agriculture and others. El-Orabi described the declaration of independence of South Sudan as a historic event and expressed his pleasure in attending celebrations marking the occasion.
The top diplomat said that Egypt is participating in celebrations to demonstrate that “if the will of the people of the South is to have their own country, we respect their choice and respect its outcome.”
South Sudan recently voted to secede from Sudan after a bloody civil war.