News / Africa

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Treaty of Non-Aggression

Sudan and South Sudan have signed a security deal aimed at easing tensions that have prompted the presidents of both countries to speak of the prospect of war. VOA's Peter Heinlein in Addis Ababa reports the signing came as the two neighbors sat down for a week of negotiations on oil revenues and a host of other contentious issues.

In a hastily arranged late night ceremony, senior intelligence officials from Sudan and South Sudan signed Friday what African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki called a "Non-Aggression Pact."

"It provides for various principles which would guide relations between the two countries, in which the two countries commit themselves to non-aggression and cooperation," he said.

The agreement came at the end of the first day of a week-long series of AU-mediated talks on issues that have brought tensions between the neighbors to the boiling point.

The key dispute is over sharing oil revenues. Oil is the lifeline of both countries' economies.

Landlocked South Sudan took three-quarters of the oil when it became independent last July, but the oil moves by pipeline through Sudan, which also controls the export facilities needed to get the product to market.

Tensions soared in December when Sudan seized tankers filled with South Sudanese crude, and began selling oil from the pipeline to recoup what it said were fees owed by the south.

The South Sudanese responded by shutting down the pipeline. Experts estimate the closure is costing the south $650 million a month, or 97 percent of the country's total income. But the south's chief negotiator called the shutdown necessary to stop Sudan from stealing the oil.

As tensions rose, both countries were reported massing large armies along the border.

AU mediator Mbeki, the former South African president, said the non-aggression pact will help to ease tensions by creating a bilateral mechanism for addressing cross border flareups before they erupt into war.

"When this matter arose at the conclusion of the negotiations, this question arose, that both sides suspect the other side might be allowing hostile action to take place, what do we do?  And the agreement is this memorandum of understanding on non-aggression and cooperation is serious," he said.

Mr. Mbeki told VOA the mechanism for resolving disputes will included the foreign, defense and interior ministers of both countries.

"It's the responsibility of both sides to act now to ensure nothing happens that might be in violation of this agreement. So they will act immediately to make sure that indeed they honor this understanding on non-aggression, so nothing would take place from each others territory that is hostile to the other," he said.

Diplomats say the non-aggression pact is the result of intense international pressure. Representatives of China, the biggest importer of Sudanese oil, met negotiators from both sides Friday.  

U.S. and European envoys have also been closely monitoring the talks.  U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, is due to arrive in Addis Ababa for the negotiations on sharing oil revenues, which are due to begin Tuesday.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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