News / Africa

Sudan, South Sudan Sign Treaty of Non-Aggression

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid