News / Africa

Sudan Oil Talks Fail; Pipeline Shutdown Looms

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.

Sudan and South Sudan have failed to resolve a dispute over oil revenues, less than 24 hours before the south is due to halt crude production and close its pipeline to the sea.  Failure to settle the dispute could have grave implications for the economies of both countries.

North-South Sudanese talks on sharing oil revenues started well Friday, when Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kir met on the sidelines of a regional summit.

Hopes of a deal were raised during the day when the host of the talks, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told East African leaders an announcement was expected shortly.

"We had informal discussions this morning to deal with the current crisis between the republic of Southern Sudan and the Republic of Sudan," he said.  "I believe we will have an announcement to make on this matter at the end of our meeting."

But when the meeting broke up, Mr. Meles told reporters the hoped-for deal had fallen through.

"I think there's quite a lot of progress, but not enough for us to be able to clinch a deal now," he said.

Sources close to the talks say announcement of the deal was being made to regional leaders when South Sudan's President Salva Kir abruptly stood up and said his side had not accepted the terms.

The south's chief negotiator at the talks, Pagan Amoum, later told reporters a deal had never been close.  Amoum said the south remains adamant that the Khartoum government must make restitution for oil it has confiscated during their protracted dispute.

"These talks could not go anywhere because Khartoum is insisting to continue stealing ... and are determined that they will not rob and steal any oil that will go through the pipeline, that is why we are forced not to send any oil through their pipeline," Amoum said.

In an opinion piece in The New York Times this week, the adviser to the African Union mediation panel, Alex de Waal, said a pipeline shutdown would be “suicidal."  He says it would cut off 97 percent of the south's income.  It would mean a loss of $650 million a month in revenue.

Chief southern negotiator Amoum said the decision to close down the pipeline had been hard.  But he rejected a reporter's suggestion that it might be better to keep the pipeline, and the oil revenue temporarily flowing while the dispute is settled.

"For you to suggest that we continue to lose for one month and pump the oil to be stolen, it's very strange.  You want the south to lose more?  That is what is being suggested," he said.  "That is why we say, please stop this behavior and we are ready to resume.  So you are right.  South Sudan is losing and stand to lose?  It is because the government of Sudan is stealing and robbing the resources.  That is why we are losing."

Amoum said the shutdown is well under way and would be complete by Saturday.  He said it would take a week to resume full production after an agreement is reached.

Oil is considered the foundation of the economies of both north and south Sudan.  The south took more than 70 percent of their oil resources when it broke away from Khartoum last July.  But the oil can only be exported through the north.  A planned alternative pipeline to the south through Kenya is still years away.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid