Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, yesterday held talks with the President of the Republic of South Sudan, Silva Kiir Mayardit, during which they discussed Juba’s request to join the Arab League as well as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue.

The Egyptian foreign ministry’ spokesperson, Ahmed Abou Zeid, said that Shoukry and Kiir’s meeting, which was held in the South Sudanese capital of Juba, had discussed “ways of enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries as well as a number of regional issues of common concern.”

During the meeting, Shoukry delivered a written message from the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Kiir, in which he sent his greetings to him and hailed Kiir’s efforts to achieve stability and development in southern Sudan.

Abou Zeid’s added that the meeting also discussed the recent developments on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam issue as well as the recent request by South Sudan to join the League of Arab States.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Shoukry and South Sudan’s Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Martin Elia Lomoro, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a mechanism for political consultation between the two countries.

The South Sudanese government recently announced that it has applied for observer status in the Arab League, “so it could contribute to the discussions of the vital issues that concern the future of the country and the region.”

The African country had also expressed its readiness to resume the Renaissance Dam talks with Egypt and Sudan.

Shoukry launched his Africa-tour yesterday of which he began by visiting the South Sudanese capital of Juba, followed by a visit to Kenya late yesterday. The visit aimed at encouraging an end to the country’s civil war and providing assistance in national health and education.

Since 2013, South Sudan has remained the scene of a bloody civil war pitting government forces against armed opposition groups. Despite a 2015 peace deal signed between the two sides, the conflict — in which some 10,000 people are thought to have been killed — remains ongoing.