South Sudan and Sudan have reached a deal on oil transportation fees, the African Union chief mediator announced Friday in the Ethiopian capital where the two parties discuss a number of unresolved issues since the secession in July 2011.
“The parties have agreed on all of the financial arrangements regarding oil, so that’s done,” Mbeki told reporters, following a meeting between the two delegations on Friday evening, but he did not provide further details.
“What will remain, given that there is an agreement, is to then discuss the next steps as to when the oil companies should be asked to prepare for resumption of production and export,” he pointed out.
Sudanese delegation on Thursday released a position paper where it lowered its initial demand, $36, for oil transportation package to $22.20. However, some reports are that Khartoum negotiating team reduced it once again to $15 .
However, Ashorooq TV, a Sudanese private channel, reported that the two parties agreed on $25.80 per barrel.
The Sudanese government, which for long time refused to discuss other matters before to settle the security issue, warned that an agreement over oil fees cannot be signed before an agreement over the implementation of security arrangements.
However, Sudan wants the mediation to review a map proposed to enforce a buffer zone on the common border. Khartoum also accuses Juba of supporting to the Sudanese rebels but the latter keeps to deny increasing mistrust between the two parties.
UN Security Council will hold a meeting on 9 August to discuss the progress made in the process and to decide the way forward.
Nonetheless, Mbeki said the two parties have now to conclude a comprehensive agreement including security issue by 22 September.
During a brief visit to the South Sudanese capital, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said it is in the interest of the two countries who are “intractably linked” to resume oil exportation as it is vital for their economy.
The two delegations were not reachable to comment after Mbeki’s statements.
The South African chief mediator further disclosed that Abyei issue should be discussed by presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir during a summit to be held next September.
“There’s an agreement between the parties that the matter of the final status of Abyei will be addressed at the next summit meeting of the presidents,” he said.