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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid