18 July 2013

South Sudan: Khartoum Notifies South Sudan It Will Halt Oil Flow By 7 August

Photo: Arne Doornebal/RNW
Khartoum to shut down South Sudan's oil pipelines by 7 Aug 2013 (file photo).

Sudan has notified South Sudan that it will stop oil flow through its pipelines next month, according to Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan's minister of Foreign Affairs.

Minister Nhial told reporters on Wednesday that the government of South Sudan had received a notification from the Sudanese government saying that the pumping stations will be shut off by 7th of August 2013.

"We have been notified through our embassy in Sudan that as of 7th, the Republic of Sudan will cease oil belonging to South Sudan from passing through its territory," Nhial said.

Sudanese intelligence service this week released two statement information about the alleged arrival of Sudanese rebels from South Kordofan where they held a meeting earlier this month to Juba, adding to operation was facilitated by the SPLA intelligence.

Also several Sudanese officials pointed out that the two 60-day warning fixed last June will be implemented if Juba continues to ignore the implementation of the security arrangements and its implementation matrix.

Minister Nhial Deng Nhial said South Sudan will begin a gradual reduction of crude oil that passes through Sudanese territory to reduce the effect of a likely shutdown by Khartoum on South Sudan.

But he did not say when this will begin following the notification from Khartoum.

South Sudanese vice -president Riek Machar on 30 June was in Khartoum where he discussed the issue of the rebels and the possible stoppage of oil flow with his Sudanese counterpart Ali Osman Taha.

The two officials reiterated their commitment to implement the signed agreements and vowed to implement it in a way to avoid the return of tensions between the two countries.

Since last June after Bashir's decision on the possible shut down of the pipeline, Juba says willing to unconditionally implement what is agreed with Sudan but accused its northern neighbour of blackmailing.

"What we are not willing to do, is to be blackmailed because we don't have any way to pass our oil through", reiterated minister Nhial on Wednesday .

South Sudan currently pumps over 200,000 barrels of oil per day according to the ministry of petroleum.

In September last year, the two Sudans accepted to work in a new spirit of cooperation cemented by the cooperation agreement signed by their presidents. Juba is calling for the implementation of the agreement.

Khartoum and Juba have been trading accusations of support to rebels groups both sides.

Minister Nhial Deng Nhial said he has informed Chinese government through its chargé d'affairs in Juba, Biang Zhigiang, of the Sudanese threat by Sudan to shut its pipelines on 7the of August.

He further said the Chinese diplomat promised that his government will help to ensure that the two countries engage in dialogue over the implementation of the signed deal including oil flow.

China, which is the main investor in the South Sudanese oil and its first buyer, during the past weeks held a series of contacts with Khartoum and Juba to ensure the continuation of oil exportation

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