Salva Kiir: “Sudan Declared War on South Sudan”
South Sudanese president Salva Kiir on Tuesday told the president of China, Hu Jintao, during a visit in Beijing, that his visit came at a dark hour when Sudan has “declared war” on his country, explaining that the attacks that continued on the newly created state amount to a declaration of war.
Analysts believe that the remarks of the South Sudanese president, who held talks with Hu Jintao on Tuesday, are only reflecting the escalation or war rhetoric between the two states, given that a formal intimation of war has not been presented by Sudan yet.
The president’s words come after Sudanese warplanes were reported to have bombed on Monday an oil field in South Sudan and that they killed at least two people after the ground troops reportedly entered South Sudanese territory with tanks and artillery.
On Monday, the Sudanese air forces dropped three bombs around the town of Bentiu, 40 miles of the border, causing several people to be wounded and one person to be killed.
On Tuesday, South Sudan reported that eight more bombs have been dropped on their territory overnight. It was not immediately clear how many casualties were there, or if there was any.
On Tuesday, China, which has economic interests in both countries, issued a call to them to set violence aside and initiate a dialogue to solve the crisis. The call was made through the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, who said that China sincerely hopes that the two countries become good neighbors and coexist in amity, words that were also told by the Chinese president to the South Sudanese counterpart.
Salva Kiir’s negotiator Pagan Amum told the media on Monday that China would be invited to build a new pipeline system to transport the oil from South Sudan to other destinations.
The authorities in Juba have expelled the Chinese oil company Petrodar when they shut down the distribution of oil to Sudan, accusing the Chinese of helping the Sudanese steal oil from the pipelines by creating tie-in pipelines. It seems that they changed their mind, given that they need to sell oil in order to support the economy.
This prompted the South Sudanese negotiator Pagan Amum to say that Chinese is the most important partner of his country. He said that the building of a new pipeline would take four years to complete, and the costs would be covered by the money made once the oil production is resumed.
The proposal the South Sudanese leader is making the Chinese comes at a time when Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir visited the Heglig region and said that there would be no more negotiations with the South Sudanese. The same was said by the South Sudanese officials, who argued that they would not transport oil through their pipelines anymore.
South Sudan has ended the cooperation with Sudan in January, when they ended the transport of oil through the pipelines of Sudan. Juba accused the Sudanese of stealing oil and of imposing a very high fee.
South Sudan and Sudan separated last year after two decades of civil war and a referendum which was validated by a 90 percent turnout and more than 90 percent of votes in favor.
The separation was completed in July, when South Sudan declared independence and their new status drew many international players on the resources market, considering that South Sudan received 75 percent of the oil resources of the former republic of Sudan, while Sudan has the pipeline systems through which the oil could flow toward the ports where is being shipped to the beneficiaries.
The separation of the two countries appeared to have the support of the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir who made his best to make sure that the process was going on smoothly, though he warned that different things left unsettled would impact on the future of the two states.
As it turned out, one of these things was the common border delimitation, which brought two weeks ago the two states on the brink of war, as South Sudan attacked and occupied the Heglig region, a oil field which is supplying most of the Sudanese reserve of oil.
The attack on Heglig was motivated by the South that the region belonged to them, though the Permanent Arbitrary Commission in The Hague had decided that the region belonged to the state of South Kordofan, which is in Sudan.
By occupying Heglig, South Sudan delivered a blow to the Sudanese economy, prompting a retaliation from Sudan, which issued a parliament statement in which the South Sudan was deemed as the “enemy.”
The president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, spoke during a rally in North Kordofan about the need to deal with the “insect,” as he called the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, the official army of South Sudan.
He said the campaign against the South has just begun and that he would not rest until all South Sudan was delivered from SPLA’s influence. A Sudanese official even expressed his regret that South Sudan was allowed to separate. As a result of the amount of pressure piled on the two states, South Sudanese troops have pulled out of the region.
Apart from the borderlines and the oil revenue share, the two states need to settle the problem of the South Sudanese citizens who live in the north and want to come back home, now that their Sudanese citizenship expired and the Arabic-speaking Muslim state wants to implement shariah as the source of legislation, which they may not agree to, considering that most South Sudanese are of Christian faith.11