S.Sudan to lobby for Sudan debt, sanctions relief
Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:57pm GMT
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* S. Sudan aid offer comes after talks on oil row
* Oil output in S. Sudan remains shut down
* Talks to restart oil output appear to be making progress
By Hereward Holland
JUBA, March 14 (Reuters) - South Sudan said on Wednesday it would help its
former civil war foe Sudan lobby for debt relief and the lifting of U.S.
sanctions as it bid to end a damaging oil dispute with its northern
A row over how much landlocked South Sudan should pay to export its oil via
Sudan has prompted Juba to shut down its entire output, putting the
country's fledgling economy under severe pressure.
In an apparent effort to curry favour with Sudan and persuade it to agree to
a lower transit fee Pagan Amum, South Sudan's chief negotiator, said his
country would try to help mobilise international funding to help Sudan plug
its budget deficit and contribute $2.6 billion of its own money too.
"The areas where we will join international mobilisation for Sudan
(are)...to receive assistance to finance the gap that results in the loss of
oil revenue from South Sudan," Amum said after returning from the latest
round of oil talks in Addis Ababa.
"The second area is in working for debt relief...the third area is the
removal of U.S. sanctions on Sudan, and of course all this will contribute
to creating a favourable investment environment where they would be able to
seek loans," he said.
Sudan is facing a severe economic crisis after losing two thirds of its oil
when the South became independent in July under a 2005 peace deal with
It is struggling with high food inflation and an external debt pile of
almost $40 billion. Khartoum had unilaterally seized oil from the south by
way of a higher transit fee, prompting Juba to end all exports.
Sudan's government said it welcomed the outcome of the latest round of talks
as a step towards reaching "satisfying" results, state news agency SUNA
In a sign of a potential thaw in relations, the two countries on Tuesday
gave initial approval to ensure free movement and residence of their
nationals in one another's territory, two months after Khartoum threatened
to treat South Sudanese as foreigners starting in April.
The African Union say the presidents of the two countries will meet "very
soon" to ink the deal and discuss a raft of other outstanding issues
including how much the South should pay to use oil infrastructure in Sudan.
In November, U.S. President Barack Obama extended sanctions on Sudan for
another year, saying Khartoum's policies towards its own people had not yet
improved enough to warrant their removal.
In 1997, the United States imposed sanctions restricting U.S. trade and
investment with Sudan and blocking the assets of the Sudanese government.
(Reporting by Hereward Holland; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
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Received on Thu Mar 15 2012 - 10:18:21 EDT