News / Africa

Sudan, South Sudan Resume Tense Talks on Oil, Borders

Sudan, South Sudan Resume Tense Talks on Oil, Borders
Sudan, South Sudan Resume Tense Talks on Oil, Borders
TEXT SIZE - +

Sudan and South Sudan have resumed talks on oil revenue sharing and other issues that have raised bilateral tensions to the boiling point. The talks are being held in Addis Ababa under African Union mediation.

A fresh round of negotiations began late Friday at a luxury Addis Ababa hotel.

The Sudanese and South Sudanese defense ministers led the opening session.  A spokesman said the two sides discussed a framework to govern how they would interact on border issues.

Diplomatic observers at Friday's talks say the preparatory nature of the opening session indicates the deep mistrust between the two sides.  Both Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudanese President Salva Kir have in recent days suggested the neighbors may be close to war.

The last round of talks two weeks ago ended in mutual recriminations, with the south cutting off the flow of the oil that is critical to the economies of both countries.

The south is likely to suffer from the cutoff more because oil generates about 97 percent of its income. But chief negotiator Pagan Amoum emerged from that round of talks saying South Sudan would rather lose all its revenue than allow their oil to be stolen.

"So you are right, South Sudan is losing and stands to lose," said Amoum. "It is because the government of Sudan is stealing and robbing the resources. That is why we are losing."

South Sudan's Oil Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau recently said he believes the Khartoum government is imposing impossible conditions and fees on the oil to punish the south for seceding from the north last July.

"What we need from them is acceptance of the best state practice, the international experience in a case like ours where by the landlocked country is allowed to transit, to pass the commodities based on a reasonable agreed fees between the two countries," said Dhieu Dau. "But unfortunately Khartoum is introducing punitive fees, discriminatory fees against South Sudan as a penalty for the secession."

With tensions running high, several international actors are working closely with the African Union mediation team, which is led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.  The United States, Britain, Norway and China all have senior envoys involved in seeking an agreement.

Amanda Hsiao of the Washington-based Enough Project says urgent action is needed to prevent a further escalation of hostilities.

"To prevent a complete collapse in North-South relations, the international community needs to seize on this next round of negotiations as their last-ditch opportunity," said Hsiao. "All efforts must be made, all diplomatic levers must be pulled to pull the two sides closer together, to reconcile their differences and to get them to sign a comprehensive agreement."

With no end to the dispute in sight, South Sudan this week signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia to build an alternative pipeline to the port of Djibouti.  South Sudanese Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin was quoted as saying a U.S.-based company could build the line in six months.

The current round of Addis Ababa talks is expected to last at least a week.  Negotiations on the most contentious issue, sharing oil revenues, are scheduled to begin next Tuesday.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid