September 1, 2012 (JUBA) - The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday urged Sudan and South Sudan to expedite and finalize their oil agreement and other related financial arrangements to pave the way for immediate the resumption of oil production and transportation.
- General view of the UN Security Council (photo Xinhua/file)
The 15-member body, in a wide-ranging statement read out by its President, Gérard Araud on Friday, said it welcome the temporary agreement reached on oil, further adding that both parties needed to move forward and reach a permanent deal, that will improve the sharply deteriorating economic conditions affecting both Sudan and South Sudan.
South Sudan, early this year, shut down its oil production, after accusing its northern neighbour of confiscating its crude oil worth about $815m. Prior to the shutdown, oil revenues accounted for nearly 98% of the South Sudan’s annual budget.
Last month, however, the two countries, under the facilitation of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel reached a deal, which could see the young nation pay US$9.10 for every barrel of oil produced in Upper Nile and $11.00 for every baril produced in Unity State. In addition Juba also offered US$3 billion as a transitional financial assistance to Sudan.
“The Council encourages the parties to swiftly finalize the details and the signing of the agreement and move forward with transparent implementation of the agreement, in order for production and transportation to resume as soon as possible,” the UNSC presidential statement reads in part.
Stephen Dhiew Dau, South Sudan’s energy and mining minister on Monday said he expects the two nations to sign a final agreement on oil, which runs through pipelines and uses refineries within Sudanese territory, after they resume the next round of negotiations on 22 September.
Khartoum, however, says the resumption of oil exportation is linked to the implementation of security arrangements and asks Juba also to explicitly renounce any support to Sudanese rebels operating in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, all areas that share a border with South Sudan.
In a related development, the UNSC further called on the Abyei Joint Oversight Committee (AJOC) to speedily finalize the establishment of the Abyei Police Service, while underscoring the urgent need also to set up the Abyei Area Administration and Council.
The UN Security Council, in reference to its resolution 2046, said it remains particularly concerned about the two parties’ failure to reach a resolution on the status of the disputed oil producing region, as well as setting up temporary security and administrative arrangements for Abyei as agreed by the parties on 20 June 2011.
“The Security Council acknowledges that the majority of security forces has been withdrawn from Abyei Area by the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan, and reiterates its call on the Government of Sudan to redeploy the Sudanese Oil Police from Abyei without preconditions,” the UNSC statement noted.
It further called upon AJOC to speedily finalize the establishment of the Abyei Police Service, to enable it to take over policing functions throughout the Abyei Area, including the protection of the oil infrastructure.
The UN believes that some 120 soldiers are still present in Defra oil fields in the extreme north of the area. Khartoum said its troops are protecting the oil equipments as the Sudanese rebels who are active in the area.
The Council also expressed its sadness at the untimely death of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, while recalling in particular the latter’s readiness to deploy 4,200 troops to Abyei through the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
Zenawi is due to be buried on Sunday at a ceremony expected to be attended by various African leaders, including South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir.
Meanwhile, the UNSC, strongly urged the Government of Sudan to accept the African Union’s November 2011 administrative security map “without further delay” so as to facilitate establishment of the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone and the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism, as called for by the Council.
The Council, in the statement, further expressed regret at what it describes as the parties’ inability to finalize agreement on the Zone, the Mechanism and other critical issues.