UN Special envoy Hilde Johnson has asked South
Sudan to negotiate a deal with its northern neighbours to resume the
production of oil in an effort to save millions of people from facing
a humanitarian crisis.
Johnson, a former Norwegian foreign minister who played a pivotal role
during the Sudan and South Sudan peace negotiations in Naivasha, Kenya, said in Nairobi that cooperation and peaceful dialogue were the only ways to maintain durable
peace and security in the region.
“It is critical that the two countries, Sudan and South Sudan,
continue their negotiations and do their utmost to reach an agreement
on oil and the other remaining issues that can foster the viability of
both and protect the interests of the people,” she said.
Ms Johnson was in Kenya to meet with the country’s political leaders to
discuss regional peace efforts.
“The relationship between Sudan and South Sudan is critical for the
two countries as well as for the region at large,” Johnson told
journalists in Nairobi Tuesday.
“A deterioration of relations will impact negatively on all parties,”
South Sudan shutdown oil production on 20 January, accusing Sudan of
“stealing” its oil in transit to the Port Sudan. Efforts of the
regions leaders to mediate in the oil dispute and foster an agreement
failed in late January.
South Sudan is looking to build an oil pipeline into the port of Lamu,
a 2,200 km pipeline, but Uganda has in the past few days reportedly
asked that the pipeline to Lamu from South Sudan should also join another
segment from Uganda.
South Sudan and Sudanese officials are currently meeting in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, to discuss the prospects ending disagreements over
some disputed areas of Abyei, and the other remaining aspects of
negotiations in the comprehensive peace agreement.
In her negotiations with Sudanese President President Omar El-Bashir,
Ms Johnson sought an extension of the deadline given
for the return of some 300,000 South Sudanese nationals in Khartoum to
The South Sudanese nationals are required to return from Khartoum by 8
April and the UN agencies involved in the operation say the timeline
is too short.
“The agencies involved in the return are clear that it will not be
possible to complete the return process within this timeframe,”
-0- PANA AO/MA 6March2012