Sudan: South to blame for oil shipment delays

AP News
Posted: Nov 27, 2012 12:07 PM

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan charged Tuesday that South Sudan is responsible for the delay in implementing a deal to restart oil production because it is refusing to disarm rebels in Sudanese territory.

The economies of both countries depend heavily on their shared oil industry. Landlocked South Sudan must export its 350,000 barrels a day of oil output through Sudan to a Red Sea refinery.

South Sudan became independent last year after a self-determination vote following a 2005 peace deal. That ended decades of civil war and killed more than two million people, but key disputes remain unresolved.

Hopes that the flow of oil would resume quickly after the accord was signed in September have been dashed. Officials from both sides have accused each other of delaying the restart of production. Implementation of other aspects of the deal has also bogged down as tensions rise.

The deputy speaker of the Sudanese parliament, Samia Ahmed Mohamed, said her country will not allow oil to be shipped through its territory until South Sudan "disengages" from rebels near the border.

Her comments were published Tuesday by the semiofficial Sudan Media Center.

Sudan has repeatedly accused South Sudan of backing rebels in its territory, a charge South Sudan denies. Fighting in South Kordofan state, near the border, has sent hundreds of thousands fleeing since for safety since it erupted last year.

On Monday, South Sudan President Salva Kiir accused Sudan of setting new conditions for carrying out the deal, which was meant to restart oil shipments. South Sudan shut down its pipelines in January in a dispute over oil transit fees.

Kiir said his government could not comply with Sudan's "new demands" that South Sudan disarm rebels outside its territory.

The deal also contained provisions for a demilitarized zone along the border and a cessation of hostilities that brought the countries to the brink of war earlier this year.

Last week, South Sudan accused Sudan of bombing its territory. Sudan's military spokesman said the raids did not hit South Sudan, and that the military was targeting rebels in Darfur.

In comments Monday, Kiir charged Sudan was using its "usual excuse" for bombing South Sudan.

Also Tuesday, Sudan responded to accusations from its neighbor that it was preventing a meeting to resolve administrative and security issues over the disputed border region of Abyei.