July 24, 2012
Sudan Rejects South Sudan Oil Offer
NAIROBI, Kenya — Sudan is giving a cool response to several South Sudanese proposals aimed at rejuvenating peace talks and oil production. Khartoum wants to settle security issues before considering Juba's offers.
Sudan says the South Sudanese proposals, submitted Monday at African Union-mediated talks in Addis Ababa, do not break new ground.
The package included an offer aimed at ending an impasse over oil, with a promise that Juba would pay up to $9.10 per barrel to transport oil through northern pipelines.
Attempt to meet in middle
The offer would be a compromise for both countries, if accepted. South Sudan had previously insisted on paying about $1 per barrel, while Sudan had demanded a price around $36.
South Sudan also has offered to pay $3.2 billion to Sudan in cash over three-and-a-half years to compensate for economic losses Khartoum suffered as a result of the south's separation last year.
Sudanese Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Rahmatullah Mohamed Osman said his country will take the South's proposals into account.
“This is an offer which is subject to negotiation. It is not just piecemeal. We are talking about oil issues, so this offer should be tabled to our negotiators and then they will reach a solution. They are offering something and it is linked to other things,” said Osman.
Continuing dispute frays economies
Meanwhile, Sudanese negotiator Mutrif Sidiq told reporters in Addis Ababa there is nothing new in South Sudan's offer, and said security issues remain a top priority.
A spokesman for South Sudan's negotiating team did not answer calls for comment.
South Sudan shut down oil production in January after accusing Sudan of stealing southern oil from northern pipelines and ports. Sudan claims it had confiscated oil to make up for unpaid transit fees. The shutdown has weakened both countries' economies.
The two Sudans fought clashes along their border this spring as tension nearly boiled over into war.
Finalizing borders, Abyei ownership
South Sudan last week issued a complaint to the AU mediating panel, accusing the Sudanese air force of bombing southern territory. Sudan said it was pursuing Darfur rebels north of the border.
South Sudan's proposal calls for the establishment of joint border teams that will work together to resolve the final demarcation of the border.
It also recommends holding a referendum in Abyei by November of this year to let the people decide which country will get control of the oil-producing region.
A U.N. Security Council resolution has ordered Sudan and South Sudan to reach agreement by August 2 on the issues left unresolved from the South's separation last year.