Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has backed down from his threat to shutdown South Sudanese oil flow through Sudanese pipelines. In doing so he pledges to honour the agreements signed in March.
South Sudan shutdown oil production 16 months ago in response to a disagreement between the two countries over the transit fees landlocked South Sudan would pay to use Sudanese pipelines to export their oil. The shutdown crippled both economies, as oil accounts for almost all government revenue in South Sudan, and Sudan needs the transit fees to stabilise its economy after the loss of most of its oil reserves when South Sudan seceded in 2011.
And agreement on transit fees was reached in March, but oil production had only resumed for a few weeks before Bashir threatened to shut it down again if South Sudan didn’t cease all support of rebels operating in Sudan. South Sudan denies they provide any such support.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir flew to Khartoum and the two Presidents met on 3 September, announcing that they both planned to honour the agreements signed in March, including for South Sudan’s oil to flow through Sudan’s facilities and ports.
Tensions remain high between the two civil war foes however, and during the announcement Bashir added that rebel support from South Sudan would need to stop. There are also a number of outstanding issues remaining to be resolved, including agreeing upon where to draw the border, the main point of dispute being ownership of the Abyei region.