Sudan peace talks reach breakthrough with oil sharing agreement
The Sudanese government has agreed to split oil revenues with the Arab state’s main rebel group for a six-year interim period, bring both sides closer to ending a 20-year civil war. The country exports approximately 300,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd).
The deal was signed between Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) at a peace summit in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, December 21, 2003. "We have decided that, during the interim period, 50 percent of revenues from the oil produced in south Sudan will go to the SPLA," government spokesman, Said Al-Khatib, said at the summit.
How to divide up the country's oil wealth has been a bone of contention in settling Sudan’s civil war, which has tallied a death toll of two million people. The war has been fought between the Islamic, northern-based government and the vastly marginalized African populations of southern Sudan, where the SPLA has been the largest rebel group.
When oil production began in 1999, the rebels and international human rights groups accused the Sudanese government of forcing southern villagers to flee the oil region. According to Human Rights Watch, state efforts to control oilfields in the war-torn south have resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. Moreover, foreign oil companies operating in Sudan have been complicit in this displacement and the death and destruction that have accompanied it.
Sudan’s government has agreed to a self-determination referendum for the south, but not until six years after the peace agreement is signed. The two sides have yet to sign a full accord on dividing up the country’s total wealth. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)