Kiir-Bashir summit averts oil shutdown between Sudans

Following his one-day meeting on Tuesday with the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir in Khartoum, the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir announced that oil will continue flowing between the two countries. The announcement comes after threats by Khartoum to shut down its pipelines, what would stop the flow of South Sudanese oil through Sudanese infrastructure to Sudan’s port. Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels fighting against the Sudanese regime and in June, it gave oil companies a deadline to stop transporting oil. Although the deadline was extended twice, the latest time limit would expire on Friday. Kiir continues denying his country is backing rebel movements, saying “this can be seen in reality,” AFP reports. “We have to close the old chapters and open a new page. What we agreed in September has to be the end of all conflict,” Kiir was quoted as saying, referring to the agreements Sudan and South Sudan signed last year in Addis Ababa. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, the spokesperson for South Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Mawien Makol, said Kiir traveled with a large delegation to Khartoum at the invitation of Bashir last month. The South Sudanese delegation included the newly appointed Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin. After the meeting, the two presidents released a joint statement saying “The discussions were carried out in a positive environment with frankness and a strong political will, which enabled the two sides to reach understandings, paving the way for the implementation of all cooperation agreements signed by the two countries,” according to the Associated Press. Abyei Besides discussing issues surrounding oil flow, the two presidents were also expected to discuss about the future of Abyei, to be in principle decided in a referendum in October. The referendum would exclude the majority of the nomadic Misseriya who spend a few months of each year in Abyei for grazing. The Dinka Ngok who reside in Abyei were granted the right to vote by Juba. Sudan rejected the plan and the UN Security Council is yet to make its position formally known, Al Jazeera reports. Sudan has warned South Sudan against unilaterally holding a referendum in Abyei and vowed not to recognize its results. For their part, the people of Abyei say both countries are not serious about the issue. In symposiums and public hearings organized by the youth body Abyei National Referendum Commission, leaders warned they would conduct an independent referendum in line with the AU proposal, should the two states fail to cooperate and facilitate the process. They claim that a referendum is the only way to solve the current situation in the area, adding that the people of Abyei can “no longer tolerate the suffering inflicted upon them by the situation.” However, a foreign diplomat was quoted as saying to AFP that Bashir and Kiir appeared to have made “a major change” in their approach to the flashpoint Abyei region. In a joint statement at the close of their talks they pledged to build that administration quickly “to pave the way for the presidents to decide the final status of the Abyei area”. File photo: Presidents Kiir and Bashir (gurtong.net)

Following his one-day meeting on Tuesday with the President of South Sudan Salva Kiir in Khartoum, the Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir announced that oil will continue flowing between the two countries.

The announcement comes after threats by Khartoum to shut down its pipelines, what would stop the flow of South Sudanese oil through Sudanese infrastructure to Sudan’s port.

Khartoum accuses South Sudan of supporting rebels fighting against the Sudanese regime and in June, it gave oil companies a deadline to stop transporting oil. Although the deadline was extended twice, the latest time limit would expire on Friday.

Kiir continues denying his country is backing rebel movements, saying “this can be seen in reality,” AFP reports.

“We have to close the old chapters and open a new page. What we agreed in September has to be the end of all conflict,” Kiir was quoted as saying, referring to the agreements Sudan and South Sudan signed last year in Addis Ababa.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj, the spokesperson for South Sudan’s ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Mawien Makol, said Kiir traveled with a large delegation to Khartoum at the invitation of Bashir last month.

The South Sudanese delegation included the newly appointed Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin.

After the meeting, the two presidents released a joint statement saying “The discussions were carried out in a positive environment with frankness and a strong political will, which enabled the two sides to reach understandings, paving the way for the implementation of all cooperation agreements signed by the two countries,” according to the Associated Press.

Abyei

Besides discussing issues surrounding oil flow, the two presidents were also expected to discuss about the future of Abyei, to be in principle decided in a referendum in October.

The referendum would exclude the majority of the nomadic Misseriya who spend a few months of each year in Abyei for grazing. The Dinka Ngok who reside in Abyei were granted the right to vote by Juba.

Sudan rejected the plan and the UN Security Council is yet to make its position formally known, Al Jazeera reports.

Sudan has warned South Sudan against unilaterally holding a referendum in Abyei and vowed not to recognize its results. For their part, the people of Abyei say both countries are not serious about the issue.

In symposiums and public hearings organized by the youth body Abyei National Referendum Commission, leaders warned they would conduct an independent referendum in line with the AU proposal, should the two states fail to cooperate and facilitate the process.

They claim that a referendum is the only way to solve the current situation in the area, adding that the people of Abyei can “no longer tolerate the suffering inflicted upon them by the situation.”

However, a foreign diplomat was quoted as saying to AFP that Bashir and Kiir appeared to have made “a major change” in their approach to the flashpoint Abyei region.

In a joint statement at the close of their talks they pledged to build that administration quickly “to pave the way for the presidents to decide the final status of the Abyei area”.

File photo: Presidents Kiir and Bashir (gurtong.net)