South Sudan and Sudan are engaged in a brawl over whether or not the Sudan has the right to take crude oil transported from South Sudan through its lands before the two sides reach a definite agreement on the issue in talks in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
All of South Sudan’s 500,000 barrels of oil go through Sudan via a pipeline to the Red Sea.
Khartoum argues that until an agreement is reached it has the right to take some of the oil in kind. This would be until South Sudan is able to pay her over 750 million dollars in dues since South Sudan’s independence in June last year. Juba says that calculation is high and that it would not pay until the agreement is concluded.
Khartoum cannot halt the flow of the oil since it involves many parties including its powerful ally, China, and its Islamic peer, Malaysia.
This week the quarrel was taken to new level with the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, accusing Sudan of seizing oil without due right.
But Sudan on Wednesday rejected the accusation by Juba saying such allegations were “sheer nonsense”.
The official Sudan News Agency has quoted Dr Nafie Ali Nafie, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir’s Assistant, and Deputy Chairman of the National Congress, as saying Khartoum is ready “to assist the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, if he lacks courage to reveal who has been stealing the oil of South Sudan”.
Nafie made the remarks in a statement at the headquarters of the National Congress Party on Wednesday saying that if there “were a thief to steal the oil of South Sudan, then it would not be the (North) Sudan”.
Dr. Nafie explained that President Salva Kiir should have explained to the people of South Sudan what he did with their oil riches which were not stolen, if really any part of it were stolen.
He said that If the President of South Sudan was “not brave enough to reveal those thieves to the people of the South, then he must admit it, and if he does not know them and wants us to identify them for him, then we are able to do that”.