6 July 2013

Sudan: Juba Says Khartoum Wants to Buy 4,500 Barrels of Oil for Kosti Power Plant

Juba — South Sudan's cabinet has approved the outcome of the recent mission of the country's Vice President, Riek Machar, to Khartoum to mend the souring relations between the two neighbouring countries, saying the mission was very successful and revealed that Sudan requested an an oil purchase for power generation purposes.

On Sunday 30 June, Machar led a high level delegation consisting of five ministers and chairperson of an independent commission to engage his Sudanese counter-part, first vice-president Ali Osman Taha, over the recent threats by President Al-Bashir giving an ultimatum of 60 days to close the oil pipeline carrying South Sudan's oil through his country's territory and sea port to the international markets.

Bashir said he made the decision accusing the South Sudanese ruling party of supporting and harbouring its former comrades, the SPLA-N, who fight Khartoum in the two areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

In Khartoum, Machar met with president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir with who he discussed the claims of the support to rebels in the two countries.

Following the recent talks, Khartoum backed down from its threats of oil shut down and suspension of the cooperation agreements, and the two parties recommitted themselves to the full implementation of the cooperation agreements.

Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan's minister of information and official spokesman, told the press on Friday that the cabinet had endorsed the report presented by the vice-president, Machar, putting the two countries back on the right track of peaceful dialogue rather than threats.

Marial said the oil will now continue to flow uninterrupted and that Khartoum also has requested to further buy 4,500 barrels per day from the South Sudan's crude oil passing through the pipeline in order to operate its power station in Kosti.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed in Khartoum between the two petroleum ministers, he said, adding that the details for the terms of the agreement will be worked out by the two ministers soon in Juba.

However, Khartoum is still insisting that South Sudan has been openly supporting the rebels of SPLA-N or under the umbrella of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) including those of Darfur to topple the regime in Khartoum.

Juba has been denying the allegations and counter-accused Khartoum of supporting its rebels including David Yau Yau who is battling South Sudan army in Jonglei state.

This week Khartoum bombed a border area - Jau - of Unity state claiming that rebels from South Kordofan have been organizing themselves in the area to launch an offensive against the government.

In a joint statement issued in Khartoum by the two vice-presidents, Machar and Taha, the two countries have committed themselves to support peace initiatives in each other's countries.

South Sudan officials, while acknowledging that fighters in the two areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile were their former comrades in the struggle, say they have no interest to support a war in Sudan but would be ready to use their influence as "honest broker" for a peaceful political settlement to the conflict.


The Sudan's first vice-president Ali Osman Taha is also expected to lead a high level delegation to Juba on Monday and hold serious bilateral discussions with his counter-part, Riek Machar.

During Taha's visit it is expected that the two countries will officially activate the various levels of mechanisms for implementation of the cooperation agreements.

Taha will also participate in the celebrations of the 2nd anniversary of independence of South Sudan on Tuesday.

These new developments clearly implies that the two countries have pulled back from the brink amid regional and international worries over a return to a stalemate that have marked the relationship of the two ex-foes since their partition in July 2011.

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