ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) — Ethiopia and South Sudan on Friday signed eight agreements aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries.

The agreements are part of South Sudan president Salva Kiir’s official visit to Ethiopia from February 23 to 25.

The agreements include Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on the construction of roads, cooperation of health, energy and diesel offtake agreement. Border trade protocol and preferential trade agreement are also included in the agreements.

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Construction of two road projects, which will be funded by the Ethiopian government, will be commenced so as to connect the two countries as part of the agreements made between the two leaders.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on the occasion that “the agreement on energy and electricity is to connect South Sudan with Ethiopia. This can boost our interdependence and, therefore, lasting peace and coexistence together for the two countries.”

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According to the joint communique, the two leaders also agreed to form a Joint Border Administrator Committee (JBAC), at the earliest possible time, to further enable them to strengthen cooperation on issues of security, trade development and infrastructure along their common border.

The agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan was also one major discussion point between leaders of the two east African countries.

“Emphasizing the necessity of the National Dialogue as a vital tool to unite the people of South Sudan and restore lasting peace and stability in the country, the two leaders agreed to work together for the inclusive process of the National Dialogue,” according to the communique.

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Ethiopia, through the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has hosted a number of peace talks between the South Sudanese government and the opposition rebels. The country is also major destination for South Sudanese refugees.

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