Government delegations from two of South Sudan’s neighbouring countries, visiting the capital of East Equatoria State on 9 July, said they hope to establish strong ties in support of the newly independent country’s development and prosperity.
Louis Lobong Lojore, Governor of Eastern Equatoria State, presided over the celebrations.During festivities in Torit, Gideon Arap Torotich Moi, who headed the Kenyan delegation, cited improvement of the road network from Lokichogio, close to Kenya’s northwest border with South Sudan, to Juba as an indicator of continuing bilateral cooperation.
The head of the Ugandan delegation, Peter Odok W'ochieng, said Kampala and Juba must focus their efforts on peace and security. Warning that tangible development cannot proceed without a spirit of cooperation and unity in both countries, he urged South Sudan's government to ensure an atmosphere conducive to investment in the region.
“We condemn any attempt from any part of Africa against stability of South Sudan,” he added.
Kenya is significant for its role in hosting negotiations to end Sudan’s north-south civil war. Representatives of the Khartoum's National Congress Party and the southern-led Sudan People’s Liberation Movement signed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Kenyan town of Naivasha.
Both Uganda and Kenya sheltered thousands of Sudanese war refugees and have contributed to South Sudan's economic growth through human and material resources.
The two countries provide major transit routes for commercial goods entering landlocked South Sudan.
Traditional dancing in Torit on Independence Day - Photo by Arsenie Coseac
The world's newest nation is seen as a profitable destination for East African traders arriving daily with merchandise and foodstuffs.
During independence celebrations, Louis Lobong Lojore, Governor of Eastern Equatoria State, advocated for cordial relations with other countries in the region, including Ethiopia.
“It is time for us to contribute at regional and international levels for the stability not only of the region but of the world,” said Lojore. “We need peace among ourselves and our sister countries.”
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Akim works as freelance editor and correspondent for diverse publications in South Sudan.
He has been part...