Sudan and South Sudan reach a deal to share oil money

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Staff writer

Sudan and South Sudan have broke a deal that will see the two countries share the oil cash, according to the Africa Union chief negotiator and former S. Africa President, Thabo Mbeki

“The parties have agreed on all of the financial arrangements regarding oil, so that’s done,” Thabo Mbeki said

The two countries had faced an August 2 deadline set by the United Nations to resolve their differences on oil and borders, and Mr Mbeki said they would meet next month to try to find a compromise on the disputed region of Abyei.

Mbeki said a timetable would now be drawn up for the resumption of oil production and exports, which are vital to the economies of both deeply impoverished countries.

“What will remain, given that there is an agreement, is to then discuss the next steps as to when the oil companies should be asked to prepare for resumption of production and export,” he said.

The AU has been mediating long-running talks to try to resolve a series of disputes that have flared since South Sudan became independent in July 2011 following a 2005 peace deal that ended one of Africa’s longest civil wars.

Landlocked South Sudan took with it three-quarters of the oil held by the previously united nation, but the pipelines and processing facilities remained in Sudan.

Mbeki’s announcement came hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on the two Sudans to strike an urgent compromise, saying they “remain inextricably linked”.

And the two sides were unable to agree on how much Juba should pay to export its crude through a northern pipeline and port, leading the South to shut down production in January after Khartoum began seizing the oil in lieu of payment.

Oil generates about 98 per cent of South Sudan’s revenue and the move crippled the economies of both countries.

Mbeki said Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir and Kiir would meet next month to find an agreement on Abyei, whose status was the most sensitive issue left unresolved before South Sudan’s independence

Prolonged clashes between Sudanese forces and rebel groups in the two disputed territories have left thousands in a “desperate state” and in need of emergency aid, according to the United Nations.

“It is urgent that both sides, north and south, follow through and reach timely agreements on all outstanding issues, including oil revenue sharing, security, citizenship and border demarcation,” Mrs Clinton said after meeting South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Juba.

Mrs Clinton, on a tour of Africa, spent around three hours on Friday in the steamy heat of Juba – a rapidly growing city largely made up of simple tin-roof huts strung out alongside the White Nile river.

US department of state has applauded the deal saying it’s the foundation of peace between the two neigbouring countries.

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