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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid