Oil dispute set to end between Sudan rivals
South Sudan has finally signed an agreement with its arch rival, Sudan, to restart the flow of oil stalled for more than a year after shutting down pipelines.
The deal was signed by Sudan’s chief negotiator, Idris Mohammed Abdel-Qadir, with his South Sudanese counterpart, Pagan Amum, and was countersigned by the African Union mediator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
The agreement sets a 14-day deadline from signing for both Juba and Khartoum to instruct oil companies to re-establish oil production by 24th March 2013.
It could take several weeks for the companies to reopen the pipelines as in the past multiple agreements have been ignored.
The two neighbours rely heavily on oil but cannot agree how to divide the oil wealth as 75& of the oil lies in the South and the entire pipelines run through the North.
The South Sudanese government used to earn 98% of its revenue from oil but its economy collapsed after it shut down oil production last year.
Sudan had been suffering too as the loss of oil revenue led its economy to shrink by 11% in 2012, leading to street protests by many activists.
The deal offers a new hope to end the ongoing crisis between the two neighbours.
In addition to the deal, both Sudan and South Sudan have announced the demilitarisation of the border and ten border crossing points are expected to be opened for local traders within a week.