Sudan, South Sudan strike oil deal

Sudan and South Sudan have hammered out a deal over oil, resolving a key part of a bitter dispute that brought the rivals to the brink of all-out war earlier this year.

"The parties have agreed on all of the financial arrangements regarding oil," African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki said two days after a United Nations deadline for the neighbours to resolve arguments over oil and borders expired.

Landlocked South Sudan said it had agreed to pay a pipeline transit fee of $9.48 per oil barrel to transport its crude through Sudan, a significant drop from Khartoum's initial demands of up to $36 a barrel in fees.

In addition, Juba agreed to make a "one-off payment" to Khartoum of some $3 billion to cover the massive financial gap created by the South's independence last year, a fractious divorce that left a raft of issues unresolved.

"This is a good deal... South Sudan will finally be able to focus its attention and dedicate its full resources to establish our state," Juba said in a statement.

Mutrif Siddiq, a Sudanese delegate to the talks in the Ethiopian capital, said the deal was "reasonable", although it did not meet the expectations of either side.

US President Barack Obama welcomed the deal, saying it opened the door to better prosperity for both countries.

"The leaders of Sudan and South Sudan deserve congratulations for reaching agreement and finding compromise on such an important issue, and I applaud the efforts of the international community, which came together to encourage and support the parties in finding a resolution," he said in a statement.

He also praised the mediation efforts of the African Union led by Mbeki, a former South African president.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who travelled to South Sudan's capital to meet President Salva Kiir on Friday -- just hours before the deal was struck -- also praised the agreement between the former civil war foes.

"The future of South Sudan is now brighter... for Sudan too, this agreement offers a way out of the extreme economic stress it is now experiencing," she said from the Kenyan capital Nairobi, on the latest leg of her Africa tour.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he welcomed the breakthrough agreement which "will be an important boost to the economies of both countries, and I commend the spirit of compromise both governments have shown".

And in Brussels the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the agreement "will contribute to the economic viability of both countries and the welfare of their people.

"I commend both Governments for the spirit of compromise that made this agreement possible and hope that it will now be extended to other outstanding issues, including borders, Abyei and security arrangements," she said.

"I am further encouraged by reports that the Government of Sudan has agreed to modalities for delivering humanitarian assistance to all civilian populations affected by the conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states."

The AU has been mediating year-long talks to try to resolve disputes that flared after South Sudan's independence in July 2011, the final stage of a 2005 peace deal to end one of Africa's longest civil wars.

Mbeki said both sides would meet next month to try to find a deal on the disputed border region of Abyei -- one of the most sensitive issues remaining -- with a new AU deadline set of September 22 to resolve outstanding issues.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is expected to meet with Kiir next month, he added.

"We have reached a final agreement with South Sudan on oil transit, and we expect to settle other files under negotiation," Sudan's undersecretary at the petroleum ministry, Awad Abdul Fatah, told the official SUNA news agency.

A timetable will be drawn up for the resumption of oil production and exports, which are key to the economies of both deeply impoverished countries.

However, analysts suggest it could take up to six months for South Sudan to be able to resume full oil production. Oil generates about 98 percent of South Sudan's government revenue.

South Sudan took with it three-quarters of the oil held by the previously united nation, but the processing and shipping facilities remained in Sudan.

The two sides could not agree on how much Juba should pay to export its crude through northern pipelines and ports, leading the South to shut down production in January after Khartoum began seizing the oil in lieu of payment.

The deal struck lasts for three and a half years, Juba said, after which it hopes to have completed proposed export pipelines to Kenya or Djibouti.

Contentious issues remain.

Juba's chief negotiator Pagan Amum accused Khartoum of violating a peace plan drawn up by the AU in April, notably by bombing South Sudan, which he said laid it open to sanctions.

Sudan still accuses South Sudan of supporting insurgents on its territory, a charge analysts believe despite denials by Juba, which in turn accuses Khartoum of backing rebels on its territory.

The two countries fought along their contested oil-rich frontier in March and April, sparking fears of wider war and leading to a UN Security Council resolution that ordered a ceasefire.

In addition, Mbeki said an agreement had also been reached between Khartoum, the UN, the AU and the Arab League to allow for humanitarian access to Sudan's war-torn Blue Nile and South Kordofan states.

Fighting between Sudanese troops and rebels there has left thousands in a "desperate state" and in need of emergency aid, according to the UN.

Clinton urged "immediate implementation of this urgently needed assistance."


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia and Philippines end losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Monday with stocks in Indonesia and Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. The Indonesian stock index closed up ... …

  • 2 coast guard men, village chief, abducted in Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Police say gunmen clad in military uniform have abducted two Philippine coast guard personnel and a village chief on a southern island then sped away in two motorboats. …

  • Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military
    Filipino on US most wanted list killed: rebels, military

    A Filipino on the United States' list of most wanted "terrorists" has been killed in a firefight in the southern Philippines, Muslim rebel leaders and the military said Monday. Abdul Basit Usman was killed in a remote mountainous area while being escorted by members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the nation's biggest rebel group, its vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said. Security forces had been hunting Usman since he escaped from a January police raid that killed Malaysian …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Indonesia ends 7-day losing streak

    JAKARTA, May 4 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares mostly traded mixed on Monday, with Indonesia and the Philippines rebounding after a recent bout of weakness. Indonesian stock index rose 1.3 percent after ... …

  • Philippines says Islamist militant was killed by followers

    The Philippines' most wanted Islamist militant, whose death at the weekend could boost peace efforts in the country's south, was killed by his own bodyguards in pursuit of a bounty offered by the United States, the head of the military said on Monday. Abdul Basit Usman, a militant with strong al Qaeda links who was blamed for numerous bomb attacks in the southern Philippines, had been hunted by security forces since 2002. "There was in-fighting among his group," General Gregorio Pio Catapang …

  • EM ASIA FX-Firm dollar, weak China factory survey hurt Asia FX

    * Won falls on weak exports, PMI; mkt wary of intervention * Rupiah down on bonds, NDFs; Indonesia's Q1 GDP eyed * Philippine peso lowest in more than a month (Adds text, updates prices) By Jongwoo Cheon ... …

  • Philippine military chief confirms wanted militant killed

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine military chief confirmed Monday that wanted Filipino bomb-maker Abdul Basit Usman, who has links to the Indonesian-based Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and is a suspect in deadly bomb attacks in the south, has been killed. …

  • PSC sports venues deteriorating – COA
    PSC sports venues deteriorating – COA

    The Commission on Audit (COA) has noted the sorry state of the country’s sports venues despite supposedly receiving sufficient funds from the government. It reported that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) got an additional budget of P626.563 million in 2013 alone but failed to maintain and upgrade the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Malate, Manila and the Philsports Complex in Pasig City. This, according to the COA report, is already a disadvantage to the country’s athletes. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options