News / Africa

Southern Sudan Sees Little Impact in Appointment to Oil Ministry

Michael Onyiego

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has formed his new Cabinet and appointed a southern official to the post of oil minister. The government of South Sudan welcomed the move but downplayed its significance Wednesday, saying it was unlikely to change the region's stance on independence.

On June 15 President Bashir formed what is likely to be his last Cabinet in the unity government before the January referendum to resolve the question of southern secession.

In an overture to the people of southern Sudan, President Bashir appointed a Southerner, Lual Acuek Deng, to serve as the country's oil minister. The president appointed Deng to the newly created ministry after splitting the former Ministry of Oil, Mining and Electricity into three separate units.

Mr. Bashir is the first sitting head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes committed in Darfur. The move comes nearly two months after the embattled president retained power in a controversial election, which many observers say failed to meet international polling standards.

The head of the government of South Sudan's mission in Nairobi, Michael Majok, said the appointment was confusing, but likely a response to the south's criticism over oil-sharing in the nation.

"We don't understand why he gave [appointed] Dr. Lual to become minister of petroleum, maybe because of the complaints of the Southern People's Liberation Movement about the sharing of the oil. So he wanted to see a member of the Southern People's Liberation Movement to be a minister of that one," he said.

Oil revenue has been one of the main causes of friction between the mainly Arab north and the African south in recent years. Southern Sudan holds the bulk of the country's oil reserves but has seen relatively little profit since their discovery.

Oil revenue will also be one of the most critical issues as Southern Sudan votes on independence in January. Profits from oil production in the south account for the majority of Khartoum's budget and parting with it will not be easy.

The referendum is the final step in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 which ended more than 20 years of war between the government in Khartoum and the Southern People's Liberation Movement.

The agreement outlined steps to help make Sudanese unity more attractive, including an oil-sharing scheme to benefit both regions.

The Southern People's Liberation Movement, now the dominant political party in Southern Sudan, says the Sudanese government has largely failed in implementing the agreement.

According to Majok, the appointment of Deng is too little too late. The southern diplomat said the move could improve relations, but was unlikely to affect the outcome of the referendum.

"You cannot do this with the last three months or five or six months," he said. "They should have started in 2005, when we agreed the unity should be based on the free will and the requirements. The causes of the conflict itself has to be removed, so that the unity must be attractive. If they can convince the southerners of that within three months that is good. I think it will not change anything because the people of South Sudan they have seen that there is nothing that has been given to them."

The South is widely expected to choose independence in January. Though President Bashir has previously promised to respect the results of the referendum, it is unclear how a split could affect regional stability.

In addition to the uncertainty surrounding oil-sharing, border disputes are testing the peace. The Abyei region of central Sudan, which produces nearly half of the country's oil, has been claimed by both the north and south. The region is scheduled to determine its allegiance on the same day of the southern referendum, but political deadlock over the implementation of the vote has stoked fears of renewed violence.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More