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[Dehai-WN] (Reuters): Sudan says cost no bar to recapture of oil region

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 16:47:00 +0200

Sudan says cost no bar to recapture of oil region

Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:17pm GMT

* Sudan says it will recapture Heglig very soon

* Says 30,000 barrels/day of new crude coming on stream

* U.N. alarmed at troop build-up in Abyei (Edits)

By Yara Bayoumy and Alexander Dziadosz

NAIROBI/KHARTOUM, April 17 (Reuters) - Sudan said on Tuesday the cost of a
full-blown conflict with South Sudan would not deter it from recapturing the
disputed Heglig oilfield, and that newly tapped oilfields would help to
sustain its struggling economy.

South Sudan took control of the contested oil-producing Heglig region last
week, prompting Sudan's parliament to brand its former civil war foe an
"enemy" on Monday and to call for a swift recapture of the flat savanna

Both countries' faltering economies will likely be important factors in the
conflict's outcome.

"Despite the high cost of the war, despite the destruction that the war can
cause ... our options are very limited. We can tolerate some sacrifice,
until we can liberate our land," Sudan's ambassador to Kenya, Kamal Ismail
Saeed, said.

"So from our side, yes, it is expensive but that doesn't deter us or that
doesn't stop us from exerting all effort to liberate our land," he told
reporters in Nairobi.

"We have been in war without oil for several years and we survived ... As a
matter of fact ... the good news (is) we have developed other sources and
fields of oil and that will really compensate our loss."

Fighting over oil payments and territory has withered the combined crude
output of both countries.

The Heglig field is vital to Sudan's economy because it accounted for half
the 115,000 barrels per day output that remained in its control when South
Sudan seceded in July. The field's output has stopped due to the fighting,
officials say.

The landlocked South had already closed its 350,000 bpd output after failing
to agree how much it should pay to export via Sudan's pipelines, a Red Sea
port and other facilities.

The latest clashes have also dampened hopes that Sudan and South Sudan can
reach a deal soon on disputed issues such as demarcation of their 1,800-km
(1,200-mile) border, division of debt and the status of citizens in each
other's territory.

The loss of Heglig, a shock to many Sudanese, has also stirred tensions in
the north. Sudan's interior minister said on Tuesday the police college had
dismissed its South Sudanese students after "their violation of police
regulations and their celebration of the occupation of Heglig".

South Sudan's military (SPLA) spokesman said its positions were bombed on
Monday, but no clashes were reported on Tuesday.

"We are aware they are trying to advance, and the SPLA is ready to receive
them," spokesman Philip Aguer said, describing the conflict as a "limited
war". Sudan's army spokesman was not immediately available to comment.


Saeed insisted Khartoum could weather the latest conflict, which has sent
food prices soaring and hit the currency as officials try to make up for the
sudden loss in revenues.

He said production from new fields in the west of the Kordofan region, in
Darfur and in the states of White Nile and Blue Nile would offset much of
the loss of Heglig's output.

"We used to produce 115,000 barrels a day before the attack, we lost about
40,000, and now we'll get another 30,000."

South Sudan insists Heglig is rightfully part of the South and says it will
not withdraw its troops unless the United Nations deploys a neutral force to
monitor a ceasefire. Saeed said that was unacceptable.

"They have two options: either to withdraw very quickly or withdraw. We will
reserve the right to use all means at our access to kick them out of there,
and we will do it," he said.

"They will be thrown out of there very soon."

Meanwhile U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm over reports of
a buildup of militia forces in the disputed Abyei border region.

The U.N. statement did not say where the reports were from or give details
but called it a violation of a June agreement in which both sides said they
would withdraw forces from the area.

Ban called on Khartoum to "ensure the full and immediate withdrawal of these
elements from the area".

Abyei, which is prized for its fertile grazing land and produces some oil,
was a major battleground during Sudan's civil war and is symbolically potent
for both sides. Both countries lay claim to it.

Khartoum seized Abyei in May last year after a southern attack on an army
convoy, triggering an exodus of tens of thousands of civilians. The Security
Council authorised the deployment of 3,800 U.N. peacekeepers in Abyei in

Some 2 million people died in Sudan's civil war, waged for all but a few
years between 1955 and 2005 over conflicts of ideology, ethnicity, oil and
religion. (Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations;
Writing by Yara Bayoumy and Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Jon Hemming)

C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved


FACTBOX-How Sudan and South Sudan shape up militarily

Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:54am GMT

April 17 (Reuters) - Fighting in a disputed border region between Sudan and
South Sudan has raised fears the two countries could resume full-blown war.

Here is a look at the two countries' military capabilities according to the
International Institute for Strategic Studies report, "Military Balance


* PERSONNEL: South Sudan has around 140,000 military personnel all of whom
are in the army.

* MAIN BATTLE TANKS: The force includes over 110 main battle tanks made up
of some T-55 and 110 T-72s.

* ARTILLERY: The military holds 69 pieces of artillery including 24
self-propelled 122mm guns. There are also 15 BM-21 122mm multiple rocket
launchers. South Sudan also has more than 30 82mm mortars.

* AIR FORCE: South Sudan has one Beech 1900 light transport aircraft as well
as nine Mi-17 multi-role helicopters and one Mi-172 transport helicopter.


* PERSONNEL: Sudan has 109,300 military personnel. Sudan also has a
paramilitary force of 17,500, which is the military wing of National Islamic

* ARMY: The country has a regular army of 85,000 and 20,000 conscripts.

* MAIN BATTLE TANKS: Sudan's force has 390 main battle tanks including 20
M-60 A3s and 60 Type-59/Type 59D and 300 T-54/T-55s.

* LIGHT TANKS: It also has 115 light tanks, 70 Type-63 and 45 Type-63. The
force also includes 412 armoured personnel carriers.

* ARTILLERY: Sudan has 778 pieces of artillery including 20 self-propelled
and 123 towed. Sudan has 635 multiple rocket launchers including 477 107mm

* NAVY: Sudan's navy has 1,300 personnel. It has four patrol and coastal
combatants and seven amphibious landing craft.

* AIR FORCE: There are 3,000 personnel. Sudan has 61 combat capable aircraft
including 23 fighter aircraft consisting of 21 MiG-29SE/ Fulcrum and two
MiG-29SE/ Fulcrum UB.

There are 26 attack aircraft including 15 A-5 Fantans and nine Su 25
Frogfoot. Sudan also has 23 transport aircraft.

* HELICOPTERS: 29 Attack helicopters including 15 Mi-24 Hind and about five
multiple-role Mi-17 Hip H helicopters.

* AIR DEFENCE: 90 towed S-75 Dvina Surface to Air Missiles.

Sources: Reuters/IIS Military Balance 2012

(Reporting by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

C Thomson Reuters 2012 All rights reserved


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