20 November 2012

South Sudan: U.S. Says Disappointed By Delays in Oil Production

Photo: Joseph Kariuki/The Star
Oil rig (file photo).

Juba — The United States government on Monday expressed concern over delays in resumption of South Sudan's oil production, saying the move deprives the two Sudan's of the revenue required to uplift their economies.

South Sudan, on Sunday, announced it had rescheduled plans to resume oil production and exports out of neighboring Sudan, until a consensus over security issues is reached with Khartoum.

Paul Adong, the head of the state-owned Nile Petroleum Corporation (NilePet), said preparations to resume pumping of South Sudan's crude oil were ongoing, denying reports that the process was suspended. He however did not mention when actual production resumes.

"We urge both parties to resume production, while they work to resolve other bilateral issues and along with the African Union, urgently stand up the Petroleum Monitoring Committee," said Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson of the US Department of State.

Juba, in January this year, shutdown its oil production following a dispute with Khartoum over oil transit fees. Oil revenues previously accounted for about 98% of South Sudan's annual budget.

However, a series of negotiations between the two countries, under the facilitation of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP), saw both countries' leaders reach an agreement on several issues in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 27 September.

"The US is increasingly concerned about the delays in implementation of the historic agreements signed in Addis Ababa by Sudan and South Sudan on September 27," the statement, obtained by Sudan Tribune, reads in part.

Both the people of Sudan and South Sudan, it adds, deserve "swift" and "complete" implementation of these agreements, as called for in the 24 October AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) communiqué.

According to the US, while the creation of the safe demilitarized border zones is vital in the prevention of inter-state conflicts and ceases support for proxies between the two Sudans, America remains deeply concerned by the lack of progress made in the aftermath of the Joint Political and Security Mechanism (JPSM) meeting between the two parties from 6-7 November.

"Allowing this unresolved issue to impede implementation of the other agreements threatens stability of both countries," warns the statement.

Sudanese foreign ministry spokesperson El-Obeid Morawah reiterated Sudan's commitment to allow the export of southern Sudanese oil. However he stressed on the quick implementation of security arrangements.

Juba on the other hand, says Khartoum wants to the deployment of joint troops on the Blue Nile and South Kordofan border where the SPLM-North rebels fight the Sudanese army.

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