UPDATED: Addis Ababa, Juba denies expulsion of S. Sudan diplomats from Ethiopia

South Sudan president Salva Kiir Mayardit (left) and Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed [Photos via Getty Images]
JUBA/ADDIS ABABA – South Sudan government and its Ethiopian counterpart have denied reports on Sunday that Ethiopia has expelled South Sudanese diplomats to protest an alleged presence and unconfirmed of Tigrayan rebel leader in Juba.

In messages to Sudans Post on Sunday evening, two South Sudan embassy staff members in Addis Ababa said they had been told to leave the East African country. A senior government official who was in Juba denied knowledge of the expulsion, but said aware that Ethiopian ambassador to Juba had left the country over unknown reasons.

This morning, South Sudan ambassador to Ethiopia, James P. Morgan,  told Sudan post that he “won’t comment because I am in a function.”

In an interview with Radio Tamazuj this morning, deputy South Sudan foreign minister, Deng Dau, who had earlier turned down a request for comment by Sudans Post over the matter, denied the expulsion reports, calling it a fiction saying South Sudan ambassador in Ethiopia was, as of this morning, attending a briefing by the Ethiopian Prime Minister over the country’s victory in Mekelle, the capital of Tigray regional state, against the TPLF.

“We cannot react to rumours, fiction, and disinformation. Our ambassador is in Addis and is this morning attending a diplomatic briefing with the rest of his colleagues in the office of the Prime Minister in Addis Ababa.. All these are just rumours as I said before it is disinformation and fake news and I don’t know what the intention of those who want to advance that is,” Dau said.

“The chargé d’affaires of the Ethiopian embassy is here. He has not been recalled, he has not been sent back and so these are just rumours,” he added.

Separately, Ethiopia’s State Emergency Taskforce called the reports disinformation which he said are being spread by anti-government campaigners.

“Is fictional news perpetrated by elements supporting the disinformation campaign of the criminal TPLF clique,” the taskforce said, according to Anadolu Agency website.