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South Sudan denies reports Egypt about to build military base near Ethiopia

South Sudan President, Salva Kiir Mayardiit, left, and his Egyptian counterparts, Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi, left appears in a photo (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

June 4, 2020 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan government has denied reports widely circulating on social media that Egypt was about to build a military base near the Ethiopian border in an apparent preparation for military escalation over its dispute emanating from a giant dam being build by Ethiopia.

The report published by the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera quoted local officials in Juba as saying that the government and the army have “agreed to a Egyptian request for military base near Pagak,” an area located in Upper Nile’s Maiwut county that borders Ethiopia.

The unnamed officials said the use of that piece of land – which would host 250 Egyptian troops – would be used only for developmental purposes and not in confronting the Ethiopians over its construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) whose terms of implementation are partly opposed by Egypt.

However, in a statement this on Wednesday, South Sudan’s Ministry Of Foreign Affairs And International Cooperation said the reports were unfounded and were meant by “enemies” of peace to stain relations between South Sudan and Ethiopia and to also escalate tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan hereby denies in the strongest terms possible the information which has been circulated in the social media that the Government of South Sudan agreed to a Egyptian request to build a Military Base in Pagak,” the foreign ministry said in a statement seen by Nyamilepedia.

“No any agreement has been reached whatsoever to allocate a piece of land for Egyptian Military Base in the territory of the Republic of South Sudan. Both countries, Ethiopia and Egypt, are close friends of South Sudan,” the statement added.

While acknowledging roles of Ethiopia and Egypt in the implementation of the country’s revitalized peace agreement, the statement said the “spurious allegation and propaganda is waged by enemies of peace in the country so as to stain our relations with our neighbouring countries and the entire region.”

Tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt have been escalating in recent weeks over dispute of Ethiopia’s giant dam which many analysts have said may affect Egypt’s share of Nile water as provided for in historical agreements.

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