March 15, 2013 (JUBA) – The Norwegian government has commended Sudan and South Sudan over a recent agreement, which paves the way for the start of oil production, a year after it was halted.
- Sudan’s Idris Mohamed Abdel Gader (L), African Union-led panel head Thabo Mbeki (C) and South Sudan’s Pagan Amum (R) holding the signed implementation matrix on the cooperation agreements, on 12 March 2013 (AUHIP photo)
The delegations of Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday agreed in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, to allow for the resumption of oil exports that were suspended over a disagreement on transit fees.
“I am pleased that Sudan and South Sudan agreed today [Tuesday] on how South Sudan’s vital oil production can start up again in two weeks’ time, and on the transport of the oil through pipelines in Sudan. I commend the two leaders for reaching the necessary compromises”, the Norwegian foreign affairs minister, Espen Barth Eide, said in a statement.
A disagreement over oil charges prompted South Sudan to shutdown oil production in January last year, accusing Sudan of stealing its oil and diverting it into other pipelines. Last September, the two sides signed an agreement allowing Juba to resume exports through Sudan, however, ongoing disagreements over border security issues has delayed implementation of the deal.
Norway’s international development minister, Heikki Holmås, said the September 2012 cooperation agreement laid the foundation for two sustainable states.
“It is now vital that both countries respect and comply with the agreements they have reached”, he said, while pledging Norway’s commitment to support both countries in the implementation of the agreement.
Meanwhile, Holmås insists the recent deal reached between Sudan and South Sudan will not affect negotiations between the Sudanese government and rebels fighting in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
“I encourage the government in Khartoum to enter into direct negotiations with [the] SPLM-N [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North] as soon as possible. Without a political agreement, it will not be possible to address the humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states”, he said.
Prior to the signing of the implementation matrix agreements, both Sudan and South Sudan had also agreed on the withdrawal of their forces from disputed border areas, as well as the establishment of a Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism operating within a Safe Demilitarized Border Zone.
In a joint statement extended to Sudan Tribune, Norway, the US and UK called on the parties to begin implementation of all aspects of the agreements “immediately” and “unconditionally”, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 2046.
“This spirit of cooperation should also create the conditions for the parties to make progress on all other unresolved issues, to include Abyei”, partly reads the 13 March statement.