South Sudan and S. Africa ink military cooperation deal

South Sudan’s defense ministry on Tuesday signed Memorandum of Understanding with the South African counterpart that will involve training of officers from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), exchange of information and visits between the two countries.

South Sudanese Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Kuol Manyang Juuk, said the agreement he signed with his South African counterpart Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, involves training, exchange of information and visits will help strengthen the already existing cooperation in the security sector of the two countries.

“The MoU we are signing involves training, exchange of information and visits,” said Juuk, adding that this is part of the ongoing effort by African countries to strengthen security cooperation.

He disclosed that some of their military officers, civil servants and diplomats have benefited from training in South Africa since 2004 prior to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005 that won South Sudan independence from Sudan in 2011.

“In 2004 when we were preparing to sign the CPA, South Africa offered to train our (military) officers, civil servants and diplomats,” he revealed.

South Sudan remains embroiled in civil strife amid huge humanitarian crisis since eruption of conflict in December 2013; over two million are displaced in neighboring countries and four million still displaced from their homes.

Regional leaders under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have initiated the High-Level Revitalization Forum to shore up the now weakened 2015 peace agreement signed between President Salva Kiir and rebels led by former First Vice President Riek Machar.

First Published by Xinhua

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