27 September 2011
South Africa and Africa’s newest state, South Sudan, have signed an agreement establishing formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.
According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the agreement is expected to lay the basis for the conclusion of other agreements, particularly economic and trade-related frameworks aimed at promoting bilateral trade and investment between South Africa and South Sudan.
“The signing of the agreement establishing diplomatic relations … is a major milestone in the relations between the two countries,” said department spokesperson Clayson Monyela in Pretoria last week.
The agreement was signed by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and her South Sudanese counterpart, Nhial Deng Nhial, on the sidelines of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last week.
Post-conflict reconstruction and development
Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, South Africa has been a helping hand in the Sudan region.
Monyela said South Africa will continue with its post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCRD) projects as it is evident that South Sudan requires more skilled civil servants who are able to provide basic services to the people of the emerging State.
Recently, South Africa trained more than 1 600 officials from the Government of South Sudan as part of a capacity-building programme taking place within the context of the African Union PCRD.
At the moment, a group of diplomats from South Sudan, together with colleagues from other countries in East Africa, are undergoing diplomatic training in South Africa.
Economic and investment opportunities
On the economic front, South Africa has been vigorously pursuing economic and investment opportunities in the new Republic of South Sudan.
The Department of Trade and Industry is also planning a visit to South Sudan in early October 2011, which will include in its delegation a multi-sector South African business component.
Monyela said South Africa would do everything in its power to ensure that South Sudan sees peace, security and stability.
“In line with the objectives of the African Agenda, South Africa will continue to support efforts aimed at ensuring a peaceful and stable environment in South Sudan and its neighbourhood.”