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June 13, 2013

South Sudan to Continue Oil Production

by Marthe van der Wolf

South Sudan is not preparing to shut down its oil production, despite threats from Sudan’s president to cut off transportation in a continuing dispute over support for rebels. South Sudan is calling on the African Union to intervene.
 
South Sudan is continuing oil production in spite of an order from Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, to stop oil shipments through pipelines in the north.
 
Pagan Amum, chief negotiator for South Sudan in the ongoing talks between the two countries, said South Sudan is surprised by the recent threats.
 
“There is no shutdown as we speak. There is no reason, there is no cause for it because the oil agreement is very clear. The terms are very clear, and its implementation should not be conditioned to other things,” said Amum.

Bashir threatens shutdown

Sudan’s President al-Bashir ordered a halt to the export of crude oil from South Sudan through their pipelines, if South Sudan does not stop supporting rebels who operate in the border region.
 
The threat from Khartoum comes after an oil agreement was signed in March, following months of negotiating, for the resumption of oil production. Most of the agreements signed between the two countries since September have barely been implemented.
 
Amum said support from the African Union is needed to realize the implementation process. “Our president is calling on the African Union to intervene and help the warring parties in Sudan to bring them to the negotiating table to end the conflict of Sudan,” Amum said.
 
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma stated earlier this week that the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki has done quite well in mediating between the neighboring countries since their 2011 separation. Dlamini-Zuma said there is no reason to change the approach.

Mbeki sent the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan a letter this week with new proposals to ensure the implementation of the signed agreements. Delegations of both countries are expected to meet in Ethiopia in the coming weeks.