February 24, 2017.
• Your Excellency, Ato Haile Merriam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Hon Ministers, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
• Please allow me to extend my warm deep appreciation and gratitude for the kind invitation for me and my delegation to visit Ethiopia and hold talks with the leadership of this country.
• The 8 Agreements or/and Memoranda of Understanding which we signed this morning will go a long way in further strengthening our bilateral relations. These relations are already excellent but our ambition is to take them to a level where the ordinary citizens in our two sisterly countries will feel and practically benefit from the improvement of our two economies and thus lift the standard of livelihood of our people.
• I wish to thank Your Excellency for these memoranda especially the construction of the two roads. All these efforts will be mutually beneficial to all our citizens in the two countries. South Sudan earnestly needs infrastructure and these roads will give access to our people in term of mobility. And in turn Your Excellency, our top priority in these memoranda is to build the refinery so that our brothers from Ethiopia will have a ready source of refined fuel close to them and that will help in boosting their economic activities. We will make sure this is realized as soon as possible so that our citizens reap the benefits that we promised them.
• Mr. Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, we in South Sudan will never get tired of appreciating the role Ethiopia has played through its successive governments in our historical development, going as far back as the first peace agreement in 1972 – well-known as Addis Ababa Agreement. His Highness Emperor, Haile Selassie stood firmly on the side of the then marginalized people of Southern Sudan to make sure that our aspirations were not stifled. When his government was overthrown by the Marxists in 1974, the cause of the people of Southern Sudan was not discarded by Mengistu’s regime and this continue even after Marxists regime, our brothers in TPLF/EPRDF continue to support us through thick and thin. Your predecessor, Late Meles Zenawi was exemplary even went beyond what the Emperor and Mengistu did to the people of South Sudan. He made sure that the voices of the people of South Sudan were heard of and pushed further to have CPA negotiated and signed. Cognisant of the Late Zenawi’s support, Your Excellency did not leave any stone unturned once you succeed him. You vigorously resisted Western Powers’ push to have South Sudan strangled through sanctions and arms embargo by making sure that you did not allow them to use IGAD to blackmail South Sudan. Such brotherly support continues until the just concluded Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) in 2015.
• Although we have recently experienced a setback, we are determined to fully implement the Peace Agreement under the auspices of the Transitional Government of National Unity. So we call upon Your Excellency, Prime Minister, to continue supporting not only our efforts in this regard but also our appeals to the region and the international community to lend us both political and material support. This appeal should be combined with the call to the region and international community to help avert the humanitarian catastrophe that will befall large numbers of the population in the Horn of Africa Region as a result of the current drought which has already triggered the onset of famine.
• Your Excellency, I appreciate very much your genuine support of the National Dialogue process which I announced in the middle of December 2016.
- Contrary to the claims of our detractors and
enemies of peace and stability in my country that it will undermine the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, I wish to assure Your Excellency that it will actually enhance the implementation of the Agreement and consolidate peace and stability in country.
- This National Dialogue will be inclusive and will reach all corners of our country and involve all our ethnic communities in every single state.
- It will give our people the support to articulate their grievances and propose solutions to them without being dictated by elites.
- It will be a grassroots exercise from bottom to top.
• Mr. Prime Minister, I wish to assure you that our relations are not just good neighborly relations; they are relations anchored on blood fraternity and a long history of peaceful coexistence that has never been tainted by violence or even fugitive animosity. Those who are scheming day and night to poison these relations will therefore fail miserably. Any weakness in our bilateral relations will only be attributable to our non-implementation of what we have committed ourselves to do or observe under the Agreement or Memoranda of Understanding we signed today and any others previously concluded.
• Your Excellency, I want to assure you that South Sudan will not be used by any force to destabilize this great nation. Your unwavering support to the people and government of South Sudan for the last 4 years in search of peace is something that we all stand to appreciate rather than allowing it to be destroyed.
• As we return to Juba tomorrow with full package and clear timeline on what to do as per our agreements, I want to reiterate that South Sudan is very much determined to execute its part in these Memoranda we have just signed. We pray God Almighty to give you good health to continue to lead Ethiopia efficiently and to wish our brothers and sisters in your great country prosperity, good health and happiness.
• May you all enjoy your dinner and have a comfortable night.