Saturday, August 11, 2012

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW, ALJAZEERA) Sudan, South Sudan strike oil deal

Sudan, South Sudan strike oil deal
Sunday, 05 August 2012 12:19

Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement on how to share the oil riches controlled by Khartoum before the country’s partition, African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki has said.

“The parties have agreed on all of the financial arrangements regarding oil, so that’s done,” Mbeki told reporters yesterday, without offering details. Mbeki said the production and export of oil would resume, but did not confirm when.

“The oil will be flowing,” he said, leaving an AU Peace and Security Council meeting in the Ethiopian capital.

“What will remain, given that there is an agreement, is to then discuss the next steps as to when the oil companies should be asked to prepare for resumption of production and export,” Mbeki added.

He said that the two sides had until September 22 to resolve the key security issue and other conflicts.

The rivals made headway in the past few days with both sides making concessions to end the oil dispute, which saw Juba shut down its production in January after Sudan took millions of barrels for what it said was unpaid fees.

“The agreement does not fulfil the ambitions of both sides,” spokesman for the Sudanese delegation Mutrif Siddig told the Sudanese state news agency. “Its implementation will start after understandings on security issues.”

While the dispute over the finances of an oil deal appears to have been resolved, border disputes remain between the two neighbours.

Nico Plooijer, from the European coalition on oil in Sudan group, have said: “It is too early to celebrate, especially because the deal itself has not been signed. It is part of a larger discussion, and the delegation from Sudan has said if we don’t have an agreement on security then we will not sign.

“The discussions is not just about the oil, it is also about citizenship, border demarcations amongst other topics.”

Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, will meet his South Sudanese counterpart Salva Kiir, next month to find an agreement on the flashpoint region of Abyei, said Mbeki.

“There’s an agreement between the parties that the matter of the final status of Abyei will be addressed at the next summit meeting of the presidents,”he said.
The two nations came to the brink of a full war in April after border fighting escalated, the worst violence since South Sudan became independent in July last year under a 2005 agreement that ended decades of civil war with Khartoum. — Aljazeera.

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