Meeting Between Sudan, South Sudan Cancelled Again
United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged Sudan and South Sudan to resume negotiations “as soon as possible,” in a bid to end a looming conflict, after a series of border attacks last week, which caused the Sudanese president to cancel a meeting in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, where he was expected to sign some agreements made with the South Sudanese counterpart in Addis Abeba, the capital of the African Union.
A meeting was expected to be held in Juba this Tuesday, after the canceling of the first meeting last week, but it was also cancelled because of the tension between the two countries. Voice of America reports that the meeting, arranged by the diplomats, was undermined by the military leaders, who said that they did not want any rapprochement between the two states, but that they fancied the creation of a militarily unstable situation along the border. Voice of America says that the two countries are “very close to war.”
The president of the United States Barack Obama is said to have spoken on Monday with the president of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, demanding him not to give in to the provocation of war from the Sudanese regime.
Obama told him to make sure the South Sudanese army is neither involved nor supportive of the scandal across the border. He also told the president of South Sudan to settle the dispute over oil revenues with the northern Sudan.
Voice of America says that the call of Obama should be directed toward Khartoum, not toward Juba, because the Sudanese regime has more to gain from the military conflict than South Sudan.
Sudan accused South Sudan of supporting the rebel movements in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, an accusation the South denies. South Sudan for its part accuses Sudan of having executed air strikes on South Sudanese territory along the common border.
Sudan and South Sudan have separated after 20 years of civil war at the end of a referendum held in 2011, when the people came in a record turnout to vote in favor of a new state.
The referendum became effective on July 7, when the state was declared independent and thus became the newest state in the world, one of the poorest states but with a large economic potential offered by the oil resources.
The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, played a very positive role in the separation of the two countries, making sure that Khartoum would not oppose the split in any way. He did however warn that problems may break out after the separation of the two states.
Sudan and South Sudan decided to share the revenues from the oil production, given that South Sudan is rich in oil, while Sudan has the pipelines that takes the oil to the ports where it is shipped toward its destination.
Since South Sudan started producing oil, it transported it through Sudan in exchange for a fee. At the beginning of the year, Sudan stopped shipping the South Sudanese gas, saying that the neighborly country did not pay its fee, while South Sudan complained that the fees represented a ripoff.
South Sudan has signed contracts with many powerful oil companies from China, Indonesia and France, and is preparing to build a pipeline of its own, to escape the dependency of Sudan.
The borders between the two states have not been established yet, and the situation of the South Sudanese people living in the north is yet to be discussed. Tens of thousands of Sudanese people from South Kordofan and Blue Nile fled their territory and went to South Sudan.
The United Nations refugee agency warned that these refugees are located near the border and could be victims of the conflict along the border, which is why they recommended that the refugees be taken inside the territory of the country.11