Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and South Sudan are good. Owing to the ongoing conflict, the focus is on humanitarian aid and peace promotion.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–South Sudan
Priorities of diplomatic relations
For Switzerland, South Sudan has been a priority country in terms of humanitarian aid and development cooperation since it gained independence in 2011. Activities are focused on food security, basic services and the protection of civilians. In addition, Switzerland is supporting the peace process at local and national level, in particular with regard to dealing with the past, statebuilding and governance.
Bilateral trade is relatively modest. A few companies based in Switzerland are active in the commodities sector in South Sudan.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from South Sudan can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI).
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
South Sudan is a priority country for Swiss humanitarian aid. Within the framework of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy 2013-2016 Switzerland participates in providing emergency and reconstruction aid, development aid, assistance in conflict resolution, the expertise of staff officers and mine action specialists.
The SDC has a cooperation office in the South Sudanese capital Juba and a programme office in Aweil in the north-west of the country. Its activities include food security, access to drinking water and the provision of basic sanitation, as well as protection and care for refugees. The Human Security Division (HSD) is active in the peace process in South Sudan and participates in the discussion on efficient and inclusive governance. A human security adviser has been deployed to Juba. In 2015, Switzerland's commitment amounted to CHF 20 million.
Swiss nationals in South Sudan
On 1 January 2016, 26 Swiss nationals were registered in South Sudan.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland took an active part in the negotiations and implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement for Sudan in 2005, which served as the basis for the referendum on independence in South Sudan in 2011.
Switzerland recognised the new state of South Sudan in tandem with the rest of the international community in 2011. Since 2012, South Sudan has maintained a permanent mission in Geneva, which is also accredited as its embassy to Switzerland. Switzerland's interests in South Sudan are represented by its embassy in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia). Since 2006, Switzerland has also maintained a cooperation office in the capital Juba, from where staff from both the SDC and HSD operate. Several bilateral meetings at state secretary and federal councillor level have taken place on the margins of multilateral forums. To date the two countries have not concluded any bilateral agreements.