Bashir to Salva Kiir: Oil will continue

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, has withdrawn his threat to block South Sudan‘s oil exports after talks with Salva Kiir, South Sudan’s leader. Sudan has agreed to accept all agreements reached with the South after its independence in 2011, Bashir confirmed.

Bashir had previously threatened that Sudan would close its pipelines to oil from the South this Friday,  once again accusing its neighbour in the South of backing rebels. South Sudan has consistently denied the charge: South Sudan’s government has accused Sudan of trying to destabilise the country.

“The agreements we signed call for the transport of South Sudan’s oil through Sudan’s facilities and ports,” Bashir said after the summit in Khartoum. Kiir urged Sudan and South Sudan had to “close the old chapters and open a new page”, AFP news agency reports.

The two countries have a long disagreement over how much the South should pay to export its oil through Sudanese pipelines. South Sudan, which gets 98% of its revenues from oil, has considerable reserves but importantly it is landlocked and reliant on Sudan’s ports for export. South Sudan took with it nearly three-quarters of Sudan’s oil production when it declared independence following decades of conflict.

At the height of the dispute last year, the South shut down its entire oil output, to the considerable detriment of both countries’ economies. Production resumed in April but the following month, Bashir once again threatened to turn off the taps.

Kiir also called for the reopening of their border for trade, a move agreed in September but not yet implemented by Sudan because of South Sudan’s alleged support for rebels. The Sudanese army is fighting a rebel insurgency in at least three regions. An umbrella rebel group called the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) has launched attacks on several towns, briefly occupying the major city of Um Rawaba in central Sudan in April.

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