January 22, 2013 (LONDON) – The American administration has criticised the Sudanese government for its continued refusal to allow the exportation of South Sudanese oil before disengagement with rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
- US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland (AFP)
In a statement released on Tuesday, US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said its country “remains disappointed” by the failure of recent talks on the implementation of a number of deals, signed last year on security arrangements, Abyei administration and the exportation of South Sudanese oil.
During recent negotiations in Addis Ababa, the two countries failed to agree on the withdrawal of troops from the border area of the so-called “Mile 14” which is claimed by the two sides. They also disagreed on the composition of the legislative council of Abyei where the parties must arrange to hold a referendum.
However, the most important point of difference remains the relationship between the South and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) that is fighting against the Sudanese army in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Khartoum has repeatedly demanded that Juba disengage with the rebels before allowing its neighbour to use its oil infrastructure and maritime port.
Washington has also demanded Juba sever ties with its former allies, but believes that Sudanese security interests “will only come if Sudan cooperates with South Sudan and begins direct talks with the SPLM-N to address the Two Areas conflict,” Nuland said.
“Lack of resolution on this issue prevents normalised relations between Sudan and South Sudan and compounds the current human rights and humanitarian emergency,” she added.
The outgoing US envoy for Sudan and South Sudan, Princeton Lyman, repeated at different occasions that the mistrust between two sides is preventing them from settling post-independence issues.
“I think what happened in the process so far is that they haven’t reached that degree of confidence and trust which is essential in carrying out this type of agreement,” Lyman said during a visit to Khartoum last November.
He recently held a series of talks with SPLM-N leaders in Washington to lay the ground for direct talks with Sudan in order to facilitate a peaceful settlement for the current crisis in the Two Areas and resolve outstanding issues between Khartoum and Juba.
Both the Sudanese and South Sudanese presidents are due to meet on the sidelines of an African Union summit this week. The two leaders must once again attempt to reach an agreement on the litigious issues left unresolved in the last round of talks.