Sudan, S.Sudan agree to start drawing border-Sudan
Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:28pm GMT
* Work on demarcation to begin "immediately"
* Sudan says has no interest in war with the South
KHARTOUM Feb 16 (Reuters) - Sudan and South Sudan want to have the bulk of
their loosely-defined and volatile border demarcated as soon as within three
months, a Sudanese official said on Thursday, in a possible bid to ease
tensions between the two former civil war foes.
The demarcation, however, would not include five areas that are still
disputed by the two sides, said Yahya al-Hussein, a senior government
official and member of Sudan's negotiating team.
South Sudan broke off from its northern neighbour in July under a 2005 peace
deal that ended decades of conflict, but lingering issues such as where to
draw the border and how to untangle the oil industry have continued to stoke
tensions between the two sides.
Tribal disputes, overlapping territorial claims, rebel fighting and the
presence of economically vital oil fields have beguiled attempts to define
the exact boundary.
"The two parties have agreed to begin work on drawing the border
immediately, and finish work within three months if operating conditions
allow for it," Hussein told reporters in Khartoum.
The two sides have agreed on about 90 percent of the border since 2009,
They have been meeting this week in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to
discuss the border and other sensitive issues such as oil.
Tensions along the boundary have made it harder for the two sides to reach a
deal around how much landlocked South Sudan should pay to send its oil -
vital to both economies - through northern pipelines running to an export
terminal in Sudan.
The new nation shut down its roughly 350,000 barrels per day of production
last month in protest after Khartoum began confiscating some oil to make up
for what it called unpaid fees. Officials on both sides have suggested war
could break out over the row.
Hussein downplayed the chance of armed conflict, however, saying it would
not benefit Sudan.
"We have no desire to enter into a war with South Sudan," he said. "We do
not have an interest in security tensions in South Sudan, which affect us
negatively in the form of displacement and other issues."
Some 2 million people died in the civil conflict between north and south,
waged for all but a few years between 1955 and 2005 over ideology,
ethnicity, religion and oil. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by
Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)
JUBA Feb 15 (Reuters) - South Sudan on Wednesday said its relations with
China are being strained by accusations that Chinese oil firms may have
cooperated with Sudan in seizing a portion of its oil in a row over transit
South Sudan took three-quarters of Sudan's oil when it became independent in
July under a peace deal with Khartoum that ended decades of civil war.
The landlocked nation needs to export its crude through Sudanese pipelines
and the Red Sea port of Port Sudan but both sides have failed to agree on a
Last month South Sudan shut down its entire oil production of 350,000
barrels a day after Khartoum started seizing some of its oil in lieu of fees
it says are unpaid. Juba accuses Khartoum of seizing 6 million barrels since
Juba's top negotiator Pagan Amum accused unspecified Chinese firms of having
played a role in helping Khartoum to seize its oil.
"Our relations with China are beginning but they are of course having
difficulties now because of the role of some Chinese companies or
individuals covering up some of this stealing," he told reporters in Juba.
State oil firms from China, India and Malaysia own majority shares in the
three consortiums extracting oil in South Sudan. China is the biggest buyer
of South Sudanese oil and has built the most oil facilities in both
Amum said oil firms operating in Unity state had helped to block export of
the entire output in December and in January.
"We will make them pay the cost or else they are out of the country," he
said, without naming the firms.
Amum also said the Sudanese oil ministry had ordered Malaysian-Chinese
pipeline operator Petrodar this week to switch on a tie-in pipeline to
divert 120,000 bpd of southern oil to Sudan's refineries.
He handed out a letter dated Feb. 13, allegedly from Petrodar, informing
South Sudan that Sudan had commissioned the tie-in line to transfer crude
"unilaterally and by force."
There was no immediate response from China or Sudan.
Oil talks sponsored by the African Union in Ethiopia will resume on Feb. 23,
Amum said, dashing hopes of a quick deal.
"They are stealing and robbing our oil," he said.
Juba will not sign any deal with Sudan without guarantees by China, India
and Malaysia that no more oil seizures by Sudan will be possible in the
future, he said.
South Sudan wants Khartoum to release all vessels held at Port Sudan and
repay the value of the seized oil, he added. (Reporting by Ulf Laessing and
Hereward Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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Received on Thu Feb 16 2012 - 16:59:30 EST