South Sudan FM: relations with Israel no threat to Cairo

Relations between Cairo and the newly forged South Sudan are strong, according South Sudan Foreign Minister Nhial Deng Nhial. The minister, who has yet to visit Egypt, also told Al-Masry Al-Youm that South Sudan would not encroach on Egypt’s allocated Nile water.

Deng said that the country’s friendly relationship with Israel will not pose any threat to Egypt. South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s first foreign visit was to Tel Aviv.

“Israel was one of the first countries to recognize South Sudan and showed a desire to establish good relations with us,” he said.

He said South Sudan officials have not yet visited Cairo because Egyptian government officials remain occupied with internal affairs, though there has been some communication between the two countries. He said Egypt's geographic proximity meant the two counries should be close.

Deng also denied speculations that South Sudan and Israel could be forming an alliance in anticipation of Islamist regimes that may rise in the Middle East after the Arab Spring.

He added that the country hopes to maintain a strong relationship with Egypt, even in the case of a partnership of Islamist governments in Cairo and the Khartoum in North Sudan.

Asked about the role the new government will play in distribution of Nile water, he said that his country welcomes dialogue that brings together all Nile basin countries, adding that South Sudan will “not take one drop of water from Egypt’s Nile water quota.”

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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