MIDDLE EAST

In Cairo, S. Sudan leader seeks Arab League membership

IN CAIRO, S. SUDAN LEADER SEEKS ARAB LEAGUE MEMBERSHIP

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry on Monday met with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to discuss Juba's request to join the Cairo-based Arab League, according to a Foreign Ministry statement.

The meeting comes in the wake of a brief Africa tour by Shukry during which he met with Kiir in the South Sudanese capital.

According to the ministry statement, the two men also discussed means of enhancing South Sudan-Egypt relations and "regional issues of common concern", including ongoing negotiations over Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam project.

Monday's meeting also reportedly saw an agreement signed establishing a "mechanism for political consultation" between Cairo and Juba, while Shukry also conveyed a message to Kiir -- the contents of which were not disclosed -- from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Kiir, for his part, hailed recent Egyptian diplomatic efforts to explain the many challenges facing South Sudan to the international community.

Since 2013, South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan following a 2011 popular referendum, 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.

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