Juba, 14 March 2023 (TDI): The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali landed in South Sudan on Monday to discuss bilateral ties and outstanding issues in implementing a 2018 peace agreement with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir.

The President of Ethiopia also held discussions with the First Vice President of South Sudan, Riek Machar on the challenges hindering the implementation of the peace deal.

The Acting Foreign Minister of South Sudan, Deng Dau Male told reporters after the meeting. “The two leaders headed the government secretariat where they held a meeting on bilateral matters with regional dimension including the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement.”

“South Sudan values ​​its historical ties with Ethiopia and appreciates Ethiopian key interest in restoring peace and stability,” said Minister Deng.

Ethiopian Ambassador to South Sudan, Misganu Arega, who was part of the delegation reiterated that his government is committed to supporting Juba to achieve durable peace.

Further, he added, “Ethiopia pleads particular importance to the peace and stability of South Sudan and stands committed to peaceful resolution of issues,”

2018 peace agreement and ongoing dispute

Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Juba comes amid the latest conflict between South Sudanese President Kiir and Vice President Machar, over the swapping of two key ministerial posts that are part of the 2018 peace deal, which allocated the portfolio to parties of the agreement.

President Kiir and Vice President Machar met on Friday in a bid to resolve the dispute but are yet to conclude the matter.

Also read: South Sudan Vice President met with UN Secretary-General

The 2018 peace agreement has handed control of the Ministry of Defense to Vice President Machar’s party, while the Ministry of Interior is under the control of President Kiir’s party.

President Kiir’s latest decree swapped the two ministries, prompting protest from the opposition, which said the decision lacked consensus from the parties to the peace deal.

Peace guarantors, including the African Union, United Nations, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), urged the parties to resolve the latest dispute and expedite the full implementation of the peace deal.