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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs