JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN — A South Sudanese official said Tuesday he was confident that Sudan will not go through with a threat to stop the flow of South Sudanese oil through pipelines in the north, and that the two neighbors will not return to war.
“The two countries have not chosen to go to war and they will not go to war by reason of proxy wars,” Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Pay Mayom Akec said at Juba airport, after returning with a delegation led by Vice President Riek Machar from talks in Sudan with President Omar al Bashir
Khartoum has repeatedly accused South Sudan of backing rebel groups fighting Bashir's regime, and threatened to block the flow of South Sudanese oil through pipelines in the north.
But Mayom said that was unlikely to happen, and sought to minimize fears that war would resume between the two neighbors.
"We have resolved that we will assist each other in resolving those matters that constitute the basis for war wherever they arise. That commitment has been made," he said.
The two sides will meet again to try to reach an amicable solution to all outstanding issues, Mayom said.
Landlocked South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011 under a peace deal which ended decades of civil war, controls most of the oil in the once-unified country but needs Sudan's pipelines to carry its crude to export ports in the north.
The two countries signed an agreement in March to resume oil shipments from the south through Sudan, which had been cut off since January 2012 amid a row over oil transit fees.
The first shipment of South Sudanese crude since that dispute was resolved was shipped out of Port Sudan a week ago.