Deal or no deal? Sudan's FM says no for oil meeting
Sudan foreign minister denied that Sudan and South Sudan have reached an agreement over pipeline transit fees during the one-to-one meeting between presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir on Saturday.
Ali Ahmed Karti told reporters in Khartoum, after his return with the President Bashir, that the "priority is now given to the security matters" pointing out that the issue of oil was not even discussed.
Reports published in Khartoum said the two presidents agreed on eight dollars per barrel but Karti dismissed this agreement describing it as "pure fantasy".
Salva Kir in the past rejected Sudan’s demand of $32 in transit fees per barrel of oil. Juba offered less than one dollar based on a agreement signed between Chad and Cameroon. But Khartoum refused the comparison between the two pipelines.
The Sudanese minister however underlined that Bashir-Kiir meeting opened the door for greater confidence between the parties and facilitates the work of the negotiating teams on the outstanding issues.
Last January South Sudan decided to shut down its oil production and accused Khartoum of stealing its resources, while Khartoum said Juba refuses to reach an agreement over oil and funds at the same time rebels who want to topple down the regime.
Earlier this month the two parties agreed to build confidence, to settle their disputes peacefully and to cooperate closely in the ongoing talks over the unresolved issues.
Karti’s statements however show that Khartoum still sticks to its approach of security first. Sudanese government demands that South Sudan expels Darfur rebel groups and pushes SPLM-North of South Kordofan and Blue Nile to reach a negotiated deal.
In Addis Ababa, the new UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson met on Monday with South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. The discussion focused on the negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan and the implementation of Security Council Resolution 2046.
Eliasson, who served in the past as UN mediator for Darfur conflict, urged the need for agreement on the buffer zone to operationalize the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism.
The meeting also talked about the humanitarian situation in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states as the South Sudan hosts some two hundred thousand Sudanese refugees.