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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs