Wednesday, May 16, 2012
South Sudan seeks Zimbabwe support
This article was written by Our reporter on 16 May, at 00 : 11 AM
A delegation from South Sudan has called on the Zimbabwean government to support the rebuilding of its country. A visiting delegation is seeking Zimbabwe’s support at the African Union to help resolve the current crisis with its northern neighbour.
The South seceded from Sudan last year after years of a bitter conflict, but still has unresolved issues with the North over sharing of oil revenues and a border dispute.
A visiting South Sudan parliamentary delegation yesterday briefed Zimbabwe’s Parliament on the current conflict with Sudan after the country voted to secede from its northern neighbour following a prolonged civil war.
The delegation met Senate President Edna Madzongwe and Speaker of the House Assembly Lovemore Moyo.
The three-member delegation of the National Legislative Assembly of the South Sudan was led by Ms Bangout Amum Aketch.
Speaking soon after meeting Speaker of the House of AssemblyLovemore Moyo, Ms Aketch said her country was committed to dialogue with Sudan to fully implement the Comprehensive Peace Accord that brought to an end the civil war which killed at least two million people.
“We discussed the outstanding issues which are happening between South Sudan and Sudan. As the ruling party in the South Sudan, we are committed to resolving the outstanding issues peacefully and we are ready to negotiate with Khartoum,” she said.
Ms Aketch said some of the issues that were still to be resolved include demarcation for the border that is over 1,000km long between the two countries, sharing of oil revenue and oil infrastructure and the issue of citizenship.
She accused Sudan of violating the agreement by occupying important towns rich in mineral and oil resources.
“We have many areas they are occupying and they continue to advance into the interior of South Sudan. We are a young nation and rebuilding, so we need support of the people of Zimbabwe who have supported us during our struggle,” Ms Aketch said.
She called on the African Union to intervene and resolve the dispute.
Cost of Conflict
Both South Sudan and Sudan have been severely affected by the conflict.
South Sudan is home to the oil reserves, while northern Sudan has the refineries a situation which has created acrimony between the two countries.
The two countries are yet to solve several border disputes among them the border region of Abbey where a referendum for residents to decide on either to join south or north has been delayed over voter eligibility.
The conflict is rooted in a dispute over land between farmers of the pro-South Sudan Dinka Ngok people and cattle-herding Misseriya Arab tribesmen.
South Sudan took over three-quarters of Sudan’s oil reserves when it became independent last July, but relies on its former civil war foe to export its crude through northern pipelines and a port.
The south has refused to pay what it considers excessive fees to use those facilities, and in January took the drastic step of shutting down all oil production. The move was especially crippling since South Sudan depends on oil for 98 percent of its revenue.
The lack of revenue has hit the import-dependent economy hard, and leaked documents from a World Bank briefing in March warned that the economy could collapse as early as July if the shutdown continues and harder austerity measures are not imposed.
Sudan, on the other hand, is under growing economic pressure. The finance ministry says the oil stoppage has created a $2.4bn hole in state finances, sending exports down 83 per cent and annual inflation to 28.6 per cent in April. Ministers have given up a month of wages to fund the war effort.