News / Africa

Sudan Oil Talks End With Recriminations, Large Rift

Pagan Amum, South Sudan's top negotiator in the oil dispute talks with Khartoum, speaks during a news conference in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, January 27, 2012.
Pagan Amum, South Sudan's top negotiator in the oil dispute talks with Khartoum, speaks during a news conference in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, January 27, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +

South Sudan has threatened to keep the oil pipeline to the Red Sea shut permanently following a failed round of talks on sharing revenues with Sudan. The shutdown is costing the two countries hundreds of millions of dollars a month. Six days of African Union-mediated talks ended Wednesday, with the two sides seemingly farther apart than when they began.

South Sudan's chief negotiator Pagan Amum emerged from a long night of negotiations saying he sees no reason to continue discussing oil payments with the Khartoum government.

"There is no agreement. There is no prospect of reaching an agreement on oil. Because the government of Sudan has taken a position which is hostile, of stealing our oil, robbing it at gunpoint. They are continuing to steal more oil from South Sudan," said Amum.

Focus on pipeline transit fees

The dispute centers on how much South Sudan is to pay the north for use of the pipeline that carries southern oil to Sudan's port on the Red Sea.

Amum showed reporters letters sent by oil companies in the past two days indicating Sudan was continuing to confiscate South Sudanese crude even as talks on revenue sharing were in progress. The Khartoum government says the oil is being taken as in-kind payment for fees they are owed.

A South Sudanese official said the oil taken by the north since the dispute began is valued at nearly $1 billion.

Bold declarations


Amum vowed to keep the pipeline shut until Sudan agrees to pay for all the confiscated oil. He said the south is moving ahead with plans to build another pipeline that would bypass the north.

"[It] is clear we cannot resume the flow of our oil through Sudan. Because the companies are telling us Khartoum has taken the decision to unilaterally take our oil by force. So there is no way South Sudan can again venture to pump its oil through Sudan. We have to build an alternative pipeline," said Amum.

When it was pointed out that it takes time to build a pipeline, Amum said it had taken less than 11 months to build the line from the oilfields to Port Sudan, a distance of about 1,700 kilometers.

Amum, who also is secretary-general of South Sudan's ruling party, said he would attend another African Union [AU]-mediated session of talks next week. He said Khartoum must agree, however, to pay for oil it seized before discussions can begin on reopening the pipeline.

Intractable positions

Sudanese negotiators agree that the outlook for the future of the talks is grim. Sabir Hassan represented the Khartoum government in the oil negotiations. He said neither side appears willing to back down from hardline positions.

"In this status quo, it will be difficult. I think they made a strategic mistake by this shutdown decision, because by shutting down now we are completely separate," said Hassan. "We have hit the bottom. Nothing else could be added for us, for the north there is nothing more. So we just wait and see."

South Sudan took three-quarters of the oil when it gained independence last July, but all the export facilities are controlled by the north.  Sudan's Hassan said in the end the two neighbors must put aside their hostilities and find a way to cooperate or both will be losers.

"The south has most of the oil fields, the north have all the infrastructure.  The south without using the infrastructure will not benefit from its oil.  The north without having the oil exported through its infrastructure will not benefit, so if they don't cooperate, both lose.  If they cooperate and share, both win. "

The next round of talks is scheduled to begin February 22 in Addis Ababa. A member of the AU mediation team said those negotiations will be limited to three members on each side, in an attempt to foster more serious and constructive dialogue.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid