Posts Tagged ‘khartoum government’


Sudan, South Sudan

Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa

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.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Sudan-South-Sudan-Resume-Tense-Talks-on-Oil-Borders-139098099.html


 South Sudan accuses Sudan of killing 79 during cattle raid

AU leaders Monday were trying to encourage the rivals to seek a deal on the sidelines of the Pan-African bloc’s summit in Addis Ababa Photo: EPA/JACOLINE PRINSLOO
South Sudan has accused its former foes in the Khartoum government of arming gunmen who killed 79 people in a cattle raid, as the UN warned tensions between the two sides risk regional peace.

“A militia group from Unity state penetrated into Warrap state … and attacked people in a cattle camp,” said Interior Minister Alison Manani Magaya, adding 79 people had been killed, updating an earlier toll of 40.

“This militia group was armed by the government of Khartoum,” he said, adding that “mostly the women and children were killed” in the latest wave of violence in the world’s newest nation.

“More weapons are flowing in from Khartoum … particularly Unity state and Upper Nile,” he said, referring to South Sudan’s oil-producing states.

But Sudan’s army spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied the allegations, saying: “We don’t have any connection with this. We never support any armed opposition in South Sudan or any place.”

South Sudan seceded peacefully from Sudan in July after decades of war, but both countries have since repeatedly exchanged allegations that each side backs proxy rebel forces against the other.

Oil-rich but grossly impoverished South Sudan was left awash with guns after years of conflict, and brutal tit-for-tat raids by rival ethnic groups to steal cattle from each other are common.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said on Sunday that tensions and a furious row over oil between the former enemies has become a major threat to regional peace and security.

“The situation in Sudan and South Sudan has reached a critical point. It has become a major threat to peace and security across the region,” Ban told an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital.

Key issues unresolved at independence have escalated into bitter arguments, including a row over pipeline transit fees to transport the landlocked South’s oil to port in the rump state of Sudan.

Juba said Sunday it had nearly completed a shutdown of its oil production – the fledgling nation’s top revenue source – after it accused Khartoum of stealing $815 million of its oil, and AU-mediated talks stalled.

In addition, tensions have been raised by their still undemarcated border, parts of which cut through oilfields.

AU leaders Monday were trying to encourage the rivals to seek a deal on the sidelines of the Pan-African bloc’s summit in Addis Ababa.

The South’s oil-producing border state of Unity is a base for a number of rebel groups that Juba claims are backed by Khartoum to destabilise the fledgling nation by attacking civilians and laying landmines.

Magaya could not name the specific group responsible for the deadly weekend attacks, but claimed that rebel groups in Unity state were collaborating with one another.

“They took a lot of cattle with them,” he said, added that the gunmen were from the Nuer ethnic group, while those attacked were Dinka.

He said government teams had been sent to investigate and that the death toll could rise as local officials were “still counting the bodies.”

South Sudan is reeling from an explosion of ethnic violence, notably in Jonglei state, where a militia army of up to 8,000 armed youths attacked a rival ethnic group earlier this month, affecting 120,000 people, according to the United Nations.

The attacks were a dramatic escalation of centuries old tit-for-tat cattle raids, with aid workers reporting horrific killings, including babies beaten against trees and women hacked by machetes.

The United Nations has warned that South Sudan faces massive challenges as the world’s newest nation struggles to support hundreds of thousands of fleeing violence.

Last year, over 350,000 people were forced from their homes due to violence, according to UN figures, while since June, South Sudan has also taken in over 80,000 refugees fleeing civil war in the north.

Source: AFP

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/sudan/9049828/South-Sudan-accuses-Sudan-of-killing-79-during-cattle-raid.html

Scores dead in cattle raid in South Sudan
ABC Online
South Sudan has accused its former foes in the Sudanese government of arming gunmen who killed 79 people in a cattle raid. “A militia group from Unity state penetrated into Warrap state… and attacked people in a cattle camp,” South Sudan’s interior 

Official: South Sudan cattle raid leaves 70 dead
Newsday
Nation Newsday > News > Nation Official: South Sudan cattle raid leaves 70 dead Published: January 30, 2012 7:43 AM By The Associated Press JUBA, South Sudan – (AP) — An official inSouth Sudan says more than 70 people were killed in a recent cattle 

NYMEX-US crude rises above $99 on Iran, S.Sudan
Reuters
| SINGAPORE Jan 31 (Reuters) – US crude oil rose above $99 a barrel on Tuesday on concerns over supply disruptions in South Sudan and OPEC member Iran. FUNDAMENTALS * NYMEX crude climbed 33 cents to $99.11 a barrel by 0004 GMT, after falling 78 cents 

Vote for new AU commission chief ends in deadlock
AFP
On the sidelines of the summit, protracted disputes between South Sudan and Sudan brought a warning from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Sunday that they threatened regional security. Ban said both Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his South Sudan 
South Sudan accuses Sudan of killing 79 during cattle raid
Telegraph.co.uk
South Sudan has accused its former foes in the Khartoum government of arming gunmen who killed 79 people in a cattle raid, as the UN warned tensions between the two sides risk regional peace. “A militia group from Unity state penetrated into Warrap

  • Azhari Abdalla, director general of the Sudanese oil ministry's Oil Exploration and Production Authority, points to a map as he briefs journalists in Khartoum, December 19, 2011.
Photo: AFP
South Sudan Accuses Sudan of Stealing Oil

Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Azhari Abdalla, director general of the Sudanese oil ministry’s Oil Exploration and Production Authority, points to a map as he briefs journalists in Khartoum, December 19, 2011.

South Sudan on Tuesday accused its northern neighbor Sudan of stealing more than 2.1 million barrels of oil, and warned buyers and shippers that they might face prosecution. The accusation has cast a pall over a new round of talks on sharing oil revenues.

South Sudan’s chief negotiator at the African Union-mediated talks accused the Khartoum government of confiscating and selling southern oil, saying it is creating an economic and political crisis.

The oil is shipped from landlocked Southern Sudan by pipeline to Port Sudan, where it is loaded onto ships for export. The two countries produce about 500,000 barrels of oil a day.

Disputed oil transit fees

The Khartoum government this week said it would take part of the south’s oil as compensation for transit fees, pending settlement of their dispute over how much the payments should be.

Southern negotiator Pagan Amoum on Tuesday showed reporters documents indicating that the north has seized three oil shipments in recent days worth more than $200 million. He said the action threatens to end the north-south talks.

“The government of Sudan, as we speak, has completed loading the stolen oil onto its vessels that now have cargo of stolen oil of South Sudan. This represents some $140 million of property of the people of South Sudan being taken away. And if you add the 750,000 [barrels] that may be starting to be loading today or tomorrow morning, it will amount to $215 million. This is an act of state piracy,” said Amoum.

Oil-revenue sharing disagreement

As the talks were set to begin on Tuesday, the two sides remained far apart over the amount of oil revenue to be shared. The south has offered to pay a transit fee of less than $1 a barrel; Khartoum is asking for more than $32 a barrel.

Amoum said the north has blocked southern oil from leaving Port Sudan since December 25. He told reporters that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is risking a return to war by refusing to negotiate in good faith.

“President Bashir has become a danger to regional peace, and he’s taking all what he wants whenever he wants at whims. This is not the way a responsible state within the international community operates, especially one that is trying to normalize relations with so many of the countries of the world. The government of Sudan has made clumsy pretexts in a thinly veiled attempt to justify its thievery,” said Amoum.

South Sudan’s warning

South Sudan Justice Minister John Luke warned that anyone buying stolen oil would be held responsible. He said investigations have already identified the companies that are purchasing the confiscated oil.

“We also would like to put the companies that are buying this illegally gotten oil of Southern Sudan from the government of Khartoum to a be on legal notice that this is the property of the Republic of Southern Sudan. And by dealing it and purchasing it, they are purchasing property to which the government of Sudan does not have any legal title and for that matter they will be subject to litigation,” said Luke.

Oil is considered the backbone of the economies of Sudan and South Sudan. The south took more than 70 percent of the region’s oil resources when it broke away from the north last July. But the oil can be exported only through the north.

China is the biggest investor in South Sudan’s growing oil sector, and the largest consumer of Sudanese crude.

http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/South-Sudan-Accuses-Sudan-of-Stealing-Oil-137520138.html

South Sudan accuses Sudan of stealing 120,000 barrels of oil a day

By Associated Press, Published: January 17

JUBA, South Sudan — South Sudan’s oil minister on Tuesday accused northern neighbor Sudan of stealing massive amounts of the south’s oil, an accusation that comes the same day the two sides are to begin another round of negotiations over their formerly unified oil industry.
South Sudan’s Minister of Petroleum and Mining Stephen Dhieu Dau told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Sudan is each day diverting about 120,000 barrels of oil pumped from the south through a recently constructed “tie-in” pipeline.
“This amounts to nearly 75 percent of the oil of South Sudan” being pumped through the line, Dau said.South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July to become the world’s newest country, and took about three-fourths of what had been Sudan’s 500,000-barrel-a-day oil industry with it.Oil runs both countries’ economies, and the south’s oil must run through Sudan’s pipelines to get to port. But the two sides are nowhere near a deal on how to share revenues.

Dau’s accusation comes just days after the government of Sudan announced that it was taking southern oil in lieu of pipeline transit fees it says the south is not paying. Oil officials in Khartoum said they began taking southern oil in December, but would not specify how much oil was being taken.

Dau said the seizures at Port Sudan coupled with the oil taken from the new pipeline amounted to nearly all of South Sudan’s shares of oil pumped from its territory.

“This is a crime and it is a threat to peace and security,” said Dau.

The two countries were to begin negotiations on Tuesday in Ethiopia primarily over the transit fees that South Sudan will pay to use the northern pipelines. South Sudan has offered to pay an average of $0.70 per barrel for the use of the two pipelines, but Khartoum has asked for $36 per barrel.

Khartoum’s chief negotiator Sabir Mohammed Al-Hassan said Sunday the figure includes other fees that South Sudan will be required to pay, such as transportation fees, a transit fee, and a marine terminal fee.

But South Sudanese officials say the levies amount to theft. Dau warned that the south would take legal action against any foreign oil companies caught buying “the stolen oil.”

Pagan Amum, the secretary general of South Sudan’s ruling party, said on the sidelines of scheduled oil talks in Ethiopia that the theft of billions of dollars worth of oil by Sudan would probably cause the talks to collapse.

“Sudan should take note that the south’s patience is close to reaching its expiration period,” Amum said.

Amum said that Sudan is stealing oil “that would be the equivalent of purchasing two new pipelines a year, every year.” Amum said an oil company on Monday alerted the south’s government of another 750,000 stolen barrels worth $140 million.

Amum said the north has repeatedly threatened oil companies to load southern oil into its vessels. Copies of letters that backed these claims were distributed to journalists at a news conference.

Despite the difficulties, South Sudan is trying to expand its oil industry. Last week it signed its first post-independence oil deals with the state petroleum companies of China, India and Malaysia for oil-producing concessions in Unity and Upper Nile states. The agreements replaced exploration and production agreements made previously with the government of Sudan.

___

Associated Press reporter Luc van Kemenade in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/south-sudan-accuses-sudan-of-stealing-120000-barrels-of-oil-a-day-talks-open-in-ethiopia/2012/01/17/gIQA4nAE5P_story.html

Sudan – South Sudan Negotiations Resume

Written by: 

January 17, 2012

Economic issues, primarily the division of oil revenues, are expected to dominate today in Addis Ababa the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan on the issues left unresolved since independence in Juba, said the minister and presidential adviser Mohamed Abdul-Gadir.

According to the Sudanese representative, quoted by the official press “SUNA” during talks mediated by the African Union, South Sudan will be asked to pay six billion dollars in arrears to the use of pipelines oriented toward the Red Sea.

The division of Sudan in July last year has necessitated a new compromise on oil revenues after the expiry of the peace accords of 2005 which provided for a division on an equal basis.

The oil is mostly concentrated in the southern oil fields, but it can only be sold and delivered to international markets via the pipelines linking the oil to the north.

Khartoum is seeking payment of a transit fee of USD35 per barrel, while Juba is offering 74 cents with the addition of an initial allocation of two and a half billion dollars.

The tensions between the ‘Sudans’ grew over the past weekend, with Khartoum announcing that it had taken and sold 650,000 barrels from the south. In addition to oil, in the Ethiopian capital until next Monday, there will be a discussion over foreign debt and trade agreements.

A key issue on a humanitarian level risks being ignored, in a period characterized by a series of other armed clashes. The enduring conflict along the borders of two countries: the legal status of some 700,000 South Sudanese migrants, who, in the absence of an agreement, in April could be expelled from Khartoum and other northern regions where they have worked and lived or years.

About the author:MISNA, or the Missionary International Service News Agency, provides daily news ‘from, about and for’ the ‘world’s Souths’, not just in the geographical sense, since December 1997.http://www.eurasiareview.com/17012012-sudan-south-sudan-negotiations-resume/

 

ReutersReuters 

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s army fought rebels in the oil-producing state of South Kordofan last week, both sides said on Saturday.

The rebels said they had killed nine government troops, but the army denied this.

Fighting has taken place since last June in South Kordofan between the Sudanese army and rebels from the northern wing of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, who want to topple the Khartoum government.

Clashes spread to neighbouring Blue Nile state, which also borders newly independent South Sudan, in September.

The violence has already forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, the United Nations estimates.

Both Blue Nile and South Kordofan contain large groups who sided with the south in a decades-long civil war, and who say they continue to face persecution inside Sudan since South Sudan seceded in July.

The SPLM is now the ruling party in the independent south and denies supporting SPLM-North rebels across the border.

The SPLM-North rebels said they had killed nine soldiers, destroyed three tanks and seized military equipment in clashes at Tees near the southern border on Monday. They also seized three army vehicles in another attack in the same area on Tuesday, they said in a statement.

Army spokesman Sawarmi Khalid Saad confirmed military operations had taken place in the town of Tees to reopen a road but denied any soldiers had been killed.

“These areas are under army control,” he said.

Events in South Kordofan and Blue Nile are difficult to verify because aid groups and foreign journalists are banned from areas where fighting takes place.

SPLM-North is one of a number of rebel movements in underdeveloped border areas who say they are fighting to overthrow Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and end what they see as the dominance of the Khartoum political elite.

Sudan and South Sudan, who still have to resolve a range of issues including the sharing of oil revenues, regularly trade accusations of supporting insurgencies on each other’s territory.

Their armed forces clashed at Jau in a region claimed by both sides last month in a rare direct confrontation.

Locals have faced air raids and sporadic ground fighting, according to rights groups and refugees, although Sudan denies it is bombing civilian areas.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Ben Harding and Peter Graff)

http://news.yahoo.com/sudan-southern-rebels-clash-oil-border-state-203756198.html


By Ramsey Al-Rikabi – Jan 13, 2012 

The Republic of South Sudan offered to sell 4.7 million barrels of Dar Blend and 1.6 million barrels of Nile Blend crude for loading in February, according to a tender document obtained by Bloomberg News.

Details of the sale are as follows:

---------------------------------------------------------------
Crude:         Dar Blend (Sudan)
Quantity:      4.7 million barrels
Loading:       Feb. 4-5    - 600,000 barrels
               Feb. 7      - 300,000
               Feb. 8-9    - 600,000
               Feb. 11-13  - 1 million
               Feb. 18-19  - 600,000
               Feb. 21-23  - 1 million
               Feb. 24-25  - 600,000
Pricing:       Dated Brent
Seller:        Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, Republic
               of South Sudan
Loading port:  Bashayer Marine Terminal, Sudan
Closing:       Jan.13
---------------------------------------------------------------
Crude:         Nile Blend (Sudan)
Quantity:      1.6 million barrels
Loading:       Feb. 22-24  - 1 million barrels
               Feb. 26-28  - 600,000 bbl
Pricing:       Indonesian Crude Price (ICP) Minas
Seller:        Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, Republic
               of South Sudan
Loading port:  Bashayer Marine Terminal, Sudan
Closing:       Jan. 13
---------------------------------------------------------------

To contact the reporter on this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi in Singapore at ralrikabi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski atakwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-13/south-sudan-offers-nile-dar-blend-crude-cargoes-for-february.html

Sudan a Thief of South Oil, Sabotages Shipping – Minister

Dhieu Williams

13 January 2012

Juba — The Minister of Petroleum and Mining, Stephen Dhieu Dau Tuesday accused the Khartoum government of ships blockage and stealing of the crude of South Sudan by directing foreign oil companies to divert the crude oil entitlement for December to Khartoum and El Obied refineries.

The Minister stated this to the journalists at the weekly press briefing in Juba. He in strong words condemned the decision taken by Sudan government without informing the operators and the government of South Sudan and said that this action would create more problem to Sudan than resolving their financial crisis. The Minister said that Sudan is currently preventing two ships from leaving Port Sudan carrying 1.

6 million barrels of Dar blend from South Sudan and preventing one additional vessel to load 0.6 barrel of south Dar blend. Dau further said Khartoum also blocked two ships from entering Port Sudan to take possession of 1.2 million barrels of Nile blend purchase from South Sudan. He however revealed to the journalists that his ministry is due to sign an agreement this month with the operating companies that will visit the country soon.

Dau, further said that Khartoum has ordered 550,000 barrels of South Sudan oil’s Dar blend’s crude oil entitlement for last December and diverted it to buyers. He also accused Sudan of constructing a new tie-in pipeline between the Petrodar pipeline and Khartoum refineries designed to permanently divert 13 percent of the Dar blend of South Sudan.

The Minister said the new pipeline under construction by Khartoum is expected to complete before fifteenth of this month. He added that his Ministry had invited China to take part in the talks with them and that South Sudan will not allow its resources to be interfered with by Khartoum and threatened legal action if the blockade continues. The Minister warned that the South Sudan government will, if necessary take legal actions against anyone who purchases Sudan’s crude stolen from the South. “Any diversion of oil is nothing less than theft and preventing loaded ships with South Sudan crude oil from leaving port is unlawful act and a violation of international laws and norms,” said Dau.Dau further said that one ship carrying 1 million barrels of southern oil was blocked from leaving Port Sudan on Dec. 31, while a second carrying 600,000 barrels was stopped this January. “They want to steal, to loot the resources of South Sudan,” reiterated the Minister.

After South independence from Sudan it gained control of nearly three quarters of the formerly unified country’s oil fields, which produce around 500,000 barrels per day.South Sudan revealed that last week Khartoum rejected 2.6 billion dollars offered by it for free in return for friendship and cooperation but Sudan continues to steal its oil. But the Petroleum Minister said in the recent talks through African Union, South Sudan proposed to pay Sudan 74 cent per barrel, offer rejected by Khartoum which opted to maintain to charge South Sudan with 36 dollars per barrel something rejected too by the world’s newest nation describing it robbery which had never happened elsewhere in the world.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201201130354.html

Gov’t Warns of ‘Huge’ Economic Impact If Khartoum Blocks Oil Export

Ngor Arol Garang

10 January 2012

Juba — South Sudan’s oil minister said Tuesday that north Sudan was siphoning off his country’s oil, threatening to instigate legal proceedings against any country or company involved in buying the allegedly stolen crude.

Since landlocked South Sudan seceded in July 2011 – taking with it 75% of the Sudan’s known oil wealth – the two countries have failed to negotiate a fee for the South to export its oil using north Sudan’s infrastructure.

Last week the South Sudanese government threatened to sue Khartoum over its decision to unilaterally impose monthly charges on its crude oil transported through its pipelines.

“Rather than view the New Year as an opportunity for renewed cooperation, the government of Sudan unilaterally decided to impose economic sanction[s] by blocking exporting our crude and stealing our oil”, Stephen Dhieu Dau, Minister of Petroleum and Mining told journalists in Juba.

Dau accused of north Sudan over five issues related to the export of its crude oil:

ordering foreign oil companies to divert South Sudan’s crude oil entitlement for December 2011 into refineries in Khartoum and El-Obeid.

diverting South Sudan’s monthly production of 550,000 barrels for December to buyers of its own entitlement.

beginning the construction of a new pipeline to permanently divert 13% of what he called “Dar Blend”.

preventing two ships carrying 1.6 million barrels of crude oil belonging to South Sudan, as well as preventing one additional vessel from leaving Port Sudan.

and prevented two other ships from entering the port to take possession of 1.2 million barrels of Nile Blend Crude purchased from South Sudan by international buyers.

South Sudan’s oil minister said he denounced the unilateral acts, and describing the diversion of its crude oil without its consent as nothing less than” theft”. Dau said that preventing loaded ships from leaving Port Sudan was “unlawful” constituting a clear violation of “international laws” and “norms”.

He said Sudan would take responsibility for all penalties and damages resulting from the “theft” and delays in the shipping schedules.

South Sudan is considering building a pipeline to Kenya to bypass having to use north Sudan’s infrastructure but this is years away from being achieved. In the six months since South Sudan became independent in July 2011 the two countries have failed to reach agreement on oil, assets, debt, citizenship and how to demarcate the poorly defined tense new international border.

The two countries are due to resume bilateral talks this month. The Sudanese president Omer Hassan al-Bashir on 4 January that South Sudan was not negotiating in good faith and accused Juba of not paying fees to use it facilities.

Most of the oil fields lie near the border. South has claimed Khartoum is arming South Sudanese rebel groups in order to destabilise the new country and retake control of Unity State’s oil fields.

Khartoum denies this and counters that Juba aids rebels in its territory. South Sudan also denies this and has accused Sudan’s Armed Forces of bombing South Sudanese territory in recent months.

Macar Aciek Ader, an undersecretary at South Sudan’s oil ministry told the press briefing in Juba the world’s newest country would incur “huge economic” damage if Khartoum continued its stance. South Sudan is one of the poorest regions in the world, with oil accounting for around 98% of the government’s annual budget.

“I really do not know what would happen if Khartoum continues to behave like this. I do not know how much loss it would be, but I think our country would incur huge economic impact”, Ader said.

Minister Dau warned that countries or companies who purchase oil from Khartoum that was “stolen from South Sudan” would face legal action.

“The Government of Sudan and all those that benefit from such illegal acquisitions will find no refuge from South Sudan’s legal authorities and will enjoy no future business with the Government of South Sudan,” the minister warned.

He denied reports alleging that his country was not paying Khartoum charges for using its oil infrastructure including transport and processing fees.

“It is disappointing to mention that Khartoum continues to deny that South Sudan pays charges for the use of its infrastructures. South Sudan is already being charged and is paying pipeline operators significant fees to produce and transport it[s] oil through Sudan but Khartoum remains spreading lies that South Sudan is not paying for the use of its infrastructure”, the minister said.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s minister of information, at the same briefing warned Khartoum to treat the world’s newest nation like an independent state with its own territorial sovereignty and resources. He repeated the allegation that north Sudan’s army intended to invade his country because of oil, however, he said that South Sudan’s military (SPLA) would not let this happen.

“Khartoum thinks that it can invade South Sudan like what Iraq did to Kuwait in 1990. Don’t we know what happened to Iraq? Where is Saddam Hussein now”, minister Marial said.

Marial argued the fact that his country was willing to offer financial assistance of 2.6 billion cash and to write off 2.8 billion of debts and arrears, he said Khartoum owes the people of South Sudan, should be seen as an indication of a country willing to forge better relations with her neighbour.

Additional reporting by Julius N. Uma

http://allafrica.com/stories/201201110080.html