South Sudan Confirms Deferral Of Oil Shutdown Deadline

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

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“We received the notification yesterday [Sunday],” Macher Achiek, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum told Gurtong.

Mayen Makol, the official Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation exclusively told Gurtong that, the suspension may allow room for another possible negotiation to sort out the oil row.

He said Juba had wanted to shut down all its oil wells by 31 July in an effort to minimize great damages of facilities.

South Sudan for the last two weeks scaled down its oil production by 20%.

Last month Khartoum threatened to shut down South Sudan’s oil flow by 7th August following claims that Juba is supporting rebels fighting its government.

Juba denied the claims.

The Khartoum move came following intervention of China and AU calling Khartoum to suspend its decision.

Sudan confirmed on Sunday that it will delay the closure.

Ethiopia, which is helping to negotiate between Sudan and South Sudan, had already announced the delay on Friday according to Reuters News Agency.

Sudan’s official SUNA news agency said the oil ministry notified petroleum companies “about the change in the date for shutting down (the) South Sudan oil pipeline from August 7-22 in response to the call of the African mediator”.

The decision followed a visit to Khartoum on Thursday by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Thabo Mbeki, the African Union’s top mediator between Sudan and South Sudan.

Ethiopia chairs the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African regional bloc.

After talks with President Omar al-Bashir, Mbeki said he asked for more time so the AU can investigate allegations made by both Sudan and South Sudan that they are supporting rebels operating in each other’s territory.

To be done carefully without damaging the infrastructure any shutdown would need 45 days, an oil analyst said.

A security delegation from Sudan had this morning arrived in the South Sudan’s capital, Juba to continue with talks on security issues between the two countries, a move aimed at subsiding tension between the two neighbours.

“We are welcoming a joint security delegation coming from Sudan to discuss some security issues mainly a continuation of security meeting held in May in Khartoum,” Brig. Bior Kiir, a security member on the South Sudan’s side told press at the Juba International Airport.

An AU and IGAD Ad Hoc Investigative Committee (AIM) left Juba last week to Khartoum, probing the rebel support claims by both countries.

The AIM was last week launched by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tedros Adhanom, representing the Chair of IGAD, and the Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ramtane Lamamra, representing the Commission of the African Union.

It is comprised of three senior military officers led by Maj. Gen. Rt. Julius Olakunle and joined by Brigadier-General Luis Inacio Muxito and Brig. Gen. Jean Baptiste.

It was objectively established to address persistent allegations made by Sudan and South Sudan that the other state was supporting and harboring armed rebel movements which aimed either to overthrow the Government, or to cause mayhem and destruction, with untold humanitarian consequences for the civilian population.

The mistrust caused by such allegations has jeopardized the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreements signed on 27 September 2013, as well as the normalization of relations between the two states.

The Commission of the African Union and the Chair of IGAD had called on both states to cooperate fully and unconditionally with the Mechanism as it carries out its work to ascertain the facts of these allegations.

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