As Egypt continues to court Nile Basin countries, President Sisi met with South Sudan’s leader in Cairo amid ongoing fears about the future of a controversial Ethiopian dam project.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo to discuss strengthening ties between the two African nations.
Kiir thanked the Egyptian president on Tuesday for backing his government and said a peace deal signed to end his country’s civil war was alive and being implemented, Egyptian state media reported.
Kiir said he had rejected attempts by unnamed parties to renegotiate the August 2015 deal, adding that he and his number two – First Vice-President Taban Deng Gai – were working “very closely” together.
“We are implementing the agreement,” he said.
Taban in July replaced exiled opposition leader Riek Machar, who maintains that the deal has collapsed.
The visit comes weeks after Sisi visited Uganda to met meet with President Yoweri Museveni – a close ally of Kiir.
An unnamed source close to Machar’s rebel group told South Sudanese media that the meeting with Sisi was part of efforts to strike a “dirty deal”.
“There is a dirty deal going between Kiir and Sisi. The issue of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is one of the main deals being finalised in Cairo,” the source said.
He added that Egypt is keen to have South Sudan and Uganda as allies so that it can “advance its covert sabotage campaign against the Ethiopian Dam”.
Ethiopia is building the GERD hydropower dam on the Nile, close to its source in the Ethiopian highlands. It has raised fears in Egypt, which depends on controlling the flow of the Nile for its agriculture, industry and domestic water supplies.
Saudi Arabian officials recently visited the controversial dam in Ethiopia, dealing a fresh blow to already strained tensions between Cairo and Riyadh.
Sisi has also met with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki in Cairo in a discussion that was described as a “deliberate move” against Ethiopia, political sources told The New Arab at the time.